Trademark board rules against Washington Redskins nickname

(AP) The U.S. Patent Office ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's federal trademarks for the name must be canceled. The 2-1

News 12 Staff

Jun 18, 2014, 8:29 PM

Updated 3,649 days ago

Share:

(AP) The U.S. Patent Office ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's federal trademarks for the name must be canceled.
The 2-1 ruling comes after a campaign to change the name gained momentum over the past year. The team doesn't immediately lose trademark protection and is allowed to retain it during an appeal, which is likely.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has refused to change the team's name, citing tradition, but there has been growing pressure including statements in recent months from President Barack Obama, lawmakers of both parties and civil rights groups.
The decision means that the team can continue to use the Redskins name, but it would lose a significant portion of its ability to protect the financial interests connected to its use. If others printed the name on sweatshirts, apparel, or other team material, it becomes more difficult to go after groups who use it without permission.
The case involves six registered trademarks that involve the use of the word Redskins, but it does not apply to the team's logo.
The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is similar to one it issued in 1999. That ruling was overturned in 2003 in large part on a technicality after the courts decided that the plaintiffs should have filed their complaint soon after the Redskins registered their nickname in 1967.
The new case was launched in 2006 by a younger group of Native Americans, and was heard by the board in March of last year.
The group argued that the Redskins should lose their federal trademark protection based on a law that prohibits registered names that are disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.
Suzan Shown Harjo, one of the plaintiffs who testified at last year's hearing, said she was "thrilled and delighted" with the decision. Snyder declined to speak to reporters as he walked off the practice field, but the team said it planned to release a statement later in the day.
In Washington, lawmakers who have pushed for a name change applauded the decision. In May, half of the Senate wrote letters to the NFL urging the team to change its 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," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has said previously he will not attend home games until the team changes its name.


More from News 12
3:41
‘I am different.’ How a Trumbull boy and his mom are changing curious stares into smiles

‘I am different.’ How a Trumbull boy and his mom are changing curious stares into smiles

2:11
Heavy rain clears out tonight; tolerable temperatures Saturday

Heavy rain clears out tonight; tolerable temperatures Saturday

2:24
Connecticut prepares for upcoming heat wave next week

Connecticut prepares for upcoming heat wave next week

2:33
SILVER LINING: Swimmer from Darien recalls tragic shark attack in Turks and Caicos

SILVER LINING: Swimmer from Darien recalls tragic shark attack in Turks and Caicos

2:35
Supreme Court bump stock ruling won't impact CT ban

Supreme Court bump stock ruling won't impact CT ban

Alex Jones’ personal assets to be sold to pay $1.5B Sandy Hook debt. Company bankruptcy is dismissed

Alex Jones’ personal assets to be sold to pay $1.5B Sandy Hook debt. Company bankruptcy is dismissed

0:14
Police: Goshen man dies after crashing into a tree in Torrington

Police: Goshen man dies after crashing into a tree in Torrington

0:45
Gov. Lamont announced over 26 million for remediation and development to properties across Connecticut

Gov. Lamont announced over 26 million for remediation and development to properties across Connecticut

0:56
 Free jazz concert for Bridgeport seniors to be held next Thursday

Free jazz concert for Bridgeport seniors to be held next Thursday

3:03
'Truly incredible.' Staples High School club 3D prints prosthetics for people in need

'Truly incredible.' Staples High School club 3D prints prosthetics for people in need

0:22
Police: Over 75 pounds of marijuana found during shooting investigation in Milford

Police: Over 75 pounds of marijuana found during shooting investigation in Milford

0:47
Michelle Troconis' family releases statement 2 weeks after her sentencing

Michelle Troconis' family releases statement 2 weeks after her sentencing

0:47
Monroe Congregational Church's 52nd annual Strawberry Festival is this weekend. Here's what you need to know!

Monroe Congregational Church's 52nd annual Strawberry Festival is this weekend. Here's what you need to know!

0:17
Officials: Connecticut diesel tax to rise 3.2 cents in July

Officials: Connecticut diesel tax to rise 3.2 cents in July

0:49
Police: Motorcyclist seriously injured in Newtown crash as motorcycle fatalities rise across the country

Police: Motorcyclist seriously injured in Newtown crash as motorcycle fatalities rise across the country

2:36
Officials: Underground explosion caused closures in downtown Stamford

Officials: Underground explosion caused closures in downtown Stamford

2:50
 Person of interest arrested after explosion at Bridgeport apartment building

Person of interest arrested after explosion at Bridgeport apartment building

0:35
CSP: Stamford man dodged troopers, put CT DOT workers at risk at site of I-95 bridge fire

CSP: Stamford man dodged troopers, put CT DOT workers at risk at site of I-95 bridge fire

1:51
Dan Hurley is staying with UConn, but how much more will they pay him?

Dan Hurley is staying with UConn, but how much more will they pay him?

2:07
Campaign School at Yale University trains next generation of female candidates

Campaign School at Yale University trains next generation of female candidates