Redskins Trademarks Canceled By U.S. Patent Office

Source: Erik Brady / USA Today

Unprecedented pressure on the Washington NFL team to change its name reached a crescendo today when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled six federal trademark registrations owned by the team, ruling that the term “Redskins” was disparaging to “a substantial composite” of American Indians when the marks were granted between 1967 and 1990.

The 2-1 decision by the board does not mean the Washington team must stop using the name but gives opponents of the name another opening to hammer home their contention that the term is a despicable racial slur. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor that “the handwriting is on the wall” and the team’s name will change some day.

The team’s attorneys said the team will appeal. The team prevailed on appeal in an earlier iteration of the case.

“We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal,” team attorney Robert Raskopf said in a statement. “This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board.”

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