Wednesday, June 18, 2014

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: "Redskins" name disparages Native Americans.

In another sign of the cultural divides in the country conservatives today denounced the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decision cancelling trademarks of the Washington, D.C. professional football team.  For twenty two years the Washington Redskins football team owners have fought to defend their name against assertions by Native Americans that the name is disparaging.  That is grounds for cancellation of a trademark.  The United State Patent and Trademark Office did just that in a 1999 decision.  But the decision was overturned on appeal on grounds that the challenge was untimely.  A new challenge was filed in 2006.  Today the TTAB again ruled that the name is disparaging and canceled the trademark.  The decision is HERE
More sensitive people - like the Vincentian priests who lead St. John's University in New York - changed the name of their teams from the Redmen to the Red Storm.  No change in competitiveness or fan loyalty has been observed. Gender equality was also served. - gwc
- gwcU.S. Patent Office Cancels Redskins Trademarks For Being 'Disparaging To Native Americans':
by Eric Lach // Talking Points Memo

 "The United States Patent and Trademark Office has cancelled six of the Washington Redskins' trademark registrations, because they "were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered." The agency ruled Wednesday in a case brought by five Native Americans, who sought cancellation of the team's trademark registrations, arguing they violated the prohibition on registering "marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute," as the agency wrote in its ruling. "We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered," the agency wrote. In emailed statements, the plaintiffs’ attorneys lauded the ruling as "historic.""

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