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Washington Redskins stripped of trademarks by U.S. Patent Office over name

The U.S. Patent Office today stripped the Washington Redskins of federal trademarks over their "disparaging" team name
The U.S. Patent Office today stripped the Washington Redskins of federal trademarks over their "disparaging" team name
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

They've finally gone and done it. According to Politico on June 18, the U..S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademarks of the Washington Redskins team name. There's been a battle over the name "Redskins" for some time now, most people in government claiming that it's "disparaging" to Native Americans.

The Patent Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board wrote, "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 decision passed by a 2-1 margin.

Everyone's gotten into a tizzy over the name of the Washington team, except for the team who shall not be named. President Obama even said that the club should consider changing the name. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been very vocal on the subject, pressing owner Dan Snyder to change the name.

“Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he is forced to do the right thing and change the name,” he said. “The writing is on the wall,” Reid added. “It’s on the wall in giant, blinking, neon lights.” Naturally, Reid has applauded today's action by the Patent and Trademark Office.

However, the trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins, Bob Raskopf, claims the team will win an ensuing appeal. “We’ve seen this story before. And just like last time, today’s ruling will have no effect at all on the team’s ownership of and right to use the Redskins name and logo,” he said in a statement, citing rulings in 1999 and 2003. “We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal," Raskopf added.

Jon Tester, Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman, spoke on the decision. “This decision is a step forward for Indian Country & for all Americans who champion tolerance,” the Montana Democrat stated on the committee's official Twitter account.

The government wants the team name changed. The owners and the team don't seem to be in league with that decision. It looks, at this point, like it's going to be a fight to the finish.

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