Redskins Lose Trademark Over 'Disparaging' Name

Plaintiff applauds 'victory for Native Americans and all Americans'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 18, 2014 9:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Under federal law, trademarks can't "disparage" individuals—and on those grounds, the US Patent and Trademark Office has withdrawn the Washington Redskins' trademark registration, the Washington Post reports. The office says the six trademarks that included the name "were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered." Plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse called the decision "a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans," ThinkProgress reports.

As evidence that the name is a slur, attorneys say they used "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." Notes Blackhorse: "We filed our petition eight years ago, and it has been a tough battle ever since. I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed." The team's name has taken a lot of heat lately.

In this Aug. 28, 2009, file photo, the Washington Redskins logo is displayed at midfield before the start of a preseason game in Landover, Md.
In this Aug. 28, 2009, file photo, the Washington Redskins logo is displayed at midfield before the start of a preseason game in Landover, Md.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
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