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The US Patent Office Cancels the Redskins Trademarks

Jun 18 2014 - 8:21am

The US Patent and Trademark Office canceled six trademark registrations for "Washington Redskins" [1] on Wednesday, stating that the NFL team's name is "disparaging to Native Americans." In its announcement, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board wrote, "We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered." So what does that mean, exactly? Well, the Washington team doesn't have to change its name, and the decision can be appealed in federal court [2], but the NFL's merchandising profits will be affected, since legal options are limited if others use the name on merchandise. The cancellation comes just a week after the National Congress of American Indians' anti-Redskins video [3] was first aired on TV to address the controversial mascot.


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