In a landmark decision reached earlier today, The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO] has cancelled federal trademark protection for the term Washington Redskins after finding it “disparaging to Native Americans”. The ruling effectively permits third-party entities to use the branding without the threat of lawsuits, thus delivering a serious commercial blow to the defiant NFL franchise owner Dan Synder who vowed to use the branding indefinitely.
[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”right” width=”30%”]“We’ll never change [it]. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”
Dan Synder, Owner[/pullquote]
USPTO announced its decision to cancel six trademarks registered between 1967 and 1990 in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C § 1052(a). Namely: “THE REDSKINS”; “WASHINGTON REDSKINS”; “REDSKINS”; “REDSKINETTES”; as well as two additional logos that feature the term “Redskins”.
Why USPTO Got It Right.
The USPTO decision will surely leave some of the franchise faithful simmering and some non-fans claiming government overreach. Protests could be heard on talk shows in rival city Dallas, perhaps the most telling indicator of public disagreement with USPTO. And yet, the decision to cancel the trademark registrations is not only right, but equally so, long overdue. Why, you might ask?
There are at least six solid reasons:
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