The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled trademarks for the Washington professional football team.
“The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans. The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” Jesse Witten, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in a press release. “We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”
The patent office cannot force the Washington Redskins to change their name, however losing their trademarks could cost the team money in the form of lost sales to counterfeit merchandise.
Dan Snyder and company intend to go about their lives as if nothing has changed while they appeal the ruling, but I think it’s clear that things have changed.
Unfortunately, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell does not have the stones of NBA commissioner Adam Silver who recently forced Donald Sterling out of the league.
The lawsuit filed with the patent office was filed four years ago, so I think it’s safe to say this has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s book tour. But, then again, some people believe the president’s birth certificate was cleverly planted in a Hawaiian newspaper 50 years ago.