U.S. Patent Office Kills Washington Football Team’s Trademark Status

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsThe unofficial “People vs. Daniel Snyder” case continued its devolution today with news that the U.S. Patent Office had withdrawn the registration belonging to They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

This means that the team no longer has exclusive rights to its name or trademark (pending appeals that will probably never end).

So even if/when Snyder’s team bows to popular pressure and changes the name, some “Dukes of Hazzard” types will be able to produce and profit from related merchandise without suffering under the full force of the law. We look forward to calling them “bootleggers.”

The board’s bold statement after the jump.

The decision came about due to “…the recognition that this racial designation based on skin color is disparaging to Native Americans…by the near complete drop-off in usage of “redskins” as a reference to Native Americans beginning in the 1960s.”

In other words, the plaintiffs succeeded in their goal of proving that at least 30% of the Native American community finds the name offensive. Judge Karen Kuhlke wrote of the divide:

“While this may reveal differing opinions within the community, it does not negate the opinions of those who find it disparaging.”

It’s true that a nearly identical judgment was overturned on appeal in 1999 “because the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old”, but Native American advocates claimed victory as Snyder’s legal team issued “move along, nothing to see here” statements.

Again, we have to question the value of the millions spent to hire all those former political operatives earlier this year. What can Lanny Davis really do for you in a situation like this one?

For the record, Snyder’s media frenemies have already done him a solid by suggesting several alternate names for his team. They even created their own logos!


Now cue all the pointless, depressing debate among Yahoo News commentors.

Recommended articles