This clash between free speech and trademark protection has drawn wide attention in part because the Washington Redskins football team is locked in the same dispute.
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UPDATE: The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Redskins, who hoped to reverse an earlier U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling that canceled the team’s trademarks based on a policy that “prohibits registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.”
In their appeal, the Redskins cited a list of ridiculously offensive trademarks, including DUMB BLONDE beer, CRACKA AZZ SKATEBOARDS, WHITE GIRL WITH A BOOTY apparel and OH! MY NAPPY HAIR shampoo. The team argued the nickname was not offensive to Native Americans, even though the PTO canceled the team’s six trademarks at the request of Native American activists who found the term offensive and, by definition, “a ‘redskin’ is the scalped head of a Native American, sold, like a pelt, for cash.”