Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Court RULES AGAINST REDSKINS: Disparaging to Native Americans

U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee upheld the ruling of the Federal Trademark Trail and Appeal Board, which deemed the team’s name offensive to Native Americans making it ineligible under the Lanham Act for status in the federal trademark registry.

Judge Lee, in his 70-page ruling, quoted Allen Iverson.

"As a threshold matter, throughout the pleadings the parties conflated the legal principles surrounding trademarks with those surrounding trademark registration," wrote Judge Lee. "Just as Allen Iverson once reminded the media that they were wasting time at the end of the Philadelphia 76ers' season 'talking about practice' and not an actual professional game, the Court is similarly compelled to highlight what is at issue in this case - trademark registration, not the trademarks themselves.

"It is the registrations of the Redskins Marks that were scheduled for cancellation by the TTAB's decision, not the trademarks. In fact, the TTAB itself pointed out that it is only empowered to cancel the statutory registration of the marks; it cannot cancel the trademarks themselves."

From the TTAB's initial ruling on canceling the Redskins' trademarks:

“We decide, 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.”

The Post’s Ian Shapira writes that the trademark cancellation does not go into effect immediately.

“The cancellation doesn’t go into effect until the Redskins have exhausted the appeals process in the federal court system,” writes Shapira. “But even if the Redskins ultimately took the case to the Supreme Court and lost, the team can still use “Redskins” and seek trademark protections under state law.”

Owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the name.

"We will never change the name of the team," Snyder told USA TODAY Sports. "As a lifelong Redskins fan, and I think that the Redskins fans understand the great tradition and what it's all about and what it means, so we feel pretty fortunate to be just working on next season."

"We'll never change the name," he said. "It's that simple. NEVER — you can use caps."

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