On June 18, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) canceled the Washington Redskins trademark. For unknown reasons, President Obama and other congressional members continue trying to force the Redskins to change their name to something less offensive.
When the USPTO canceled the team’s trademark, they claim to have done so because the term is offensive, but if the topic is offensive and no one complains, is it still offensive? The Washington Times addressed this question. On Tuesday, the publication reported the USPTO has never received any complaints about the alleged disparaging team name.
The subject made radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh appear correct on a prediction made earlier this year. On January 9, he told his audience the Obama administration would use the USPTO as a weapon to force the team to change its name.
However, the trademark cancellation may not stand. In 2003, a federal court decision overruled an earlier attempt to cancel the team’s trademark. Bob Raskopf, the team’s trademark attorney, said he expects the same result from 2003. The USPTO office cannot force the team to change its name. It means the team cannot prevent others from using the team name.
According to the Redskins website, the team name became official on February 13, 1937. After the Boston Braves left Boston and moved to Washington, the team changed its name to the Redskins. They have played in five Superbowls, and have won three of the five. The team’s last Superbowl appearance occurred on January 26, 1992. The Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
On May 25, 1999, Daniel Snyder paid $800 million for the team and became its fourth owner. The team has held the name for 77 years. Although politicians and protesters have tried to persuade Snyder to change the name, he has stood firm, and said he will not change the name—for now.