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Washington Redskins Trademark Revoked By Federal Trademark Office

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In what is being called a landmark decision, the battle of the Washington Redskin name may finally be over thanks to the Federal Patent & Trademark office.

On Wednesday, the office revoked six federal trademarks in reference to the name Washington Redskins. The explanation for this:

We decided, 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.

This all stems from a case brought against the team by Amanda Blackhorse.  Jesse Witten, who represents Blackhorse, released the following statement:

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.

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.

This isn’t the first time this tactic has been tried. A federal court reversed a similar 1992 decision by the Trial & Appeals Board due to a technicality in the case. Witten claims this technicality was fixed for their case.

What’s next? Time will tell as we assume an appeal from the Washington Redskins ownership will be forthcoming.


[Think Progress]



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