U.S. Patent Office Rules Against Redskins Name
The U.S. Patent Office has ruled that the Washington Redskins nickname is “disparaging of Native Americans” and that federal trademarks for the team’s name have to be canceled.
The case, Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc., (H/T Deadspin) was reviewed by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It was filed on behalf of Native Americans, who have long contested that the team’s name is racist and deeply offensive.
This decision is similar to one filed in 1999, but it was overturned due to technicalities and the fact that some of the plaintiffs had waited too long to file suit.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has long vowed to keep the team’s name. “We’ll never change the name,” Snyder told USA Today last month. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
The Redskins can appeal the process and retain their trademark protection, but it’s the latest in an ongoing dispute, one that has only gained steam as public figures, including members of Congress, have gotten involved, all calling for Snyder to change the team’s name.