*After 82 years of existence, the Washington Redskins must find a new name.
The U.S. Patent Office handed down the 2-1 ruling Wednesday as it decided hat the team’s federal trademark must be canceled in light it Redskins’ nickname being “disparaging of Native Americans,” the Associated Press reports. Despite the ruling the Redskins doesn’t immediately lose trademark protection. An appeal from the team is allowed and will most likely occur. ,
Wednesday’s ruling is the latest in an ongoing saga involving efforts to change the name of the Redskins. The case centered around six registered trademarks that involve the use of the word Redskins, but it doesn’t apply to the team’s logo.
The decision handed down by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board echoes a similar one it issued in 1999 but was overturned in 2003. A technicality caused the end result once the courts decided that the plaintiffs in the case should have filed their complaint soon after the Redskins registered their nickname in 1967.
A group of young Native Americans launched a new case in 2006 that was heard in March 2013. The group’s argument stemmed from the opinion that the Redskins should lose their federal trademark protection. The reason behind the group’s opposition is based on a law that prohibits registered names that are disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.
Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, has referenced “tradition” as his basis for standing by his refusal to change his team’s name. In recent months, the AP reports that a surge in opposition to the name has gained momentum in light of statements from President Barack Obama, lawmakers of both parties and civil rights groups.
Lawmakers in favor of the name change applauded the decision, while conservatives voiced their disapproval with thoughts of the government overstepping their jurisdiction on the issue.
In a statement, the Washington Redskins’ trademark attorney, Bob Raskopf, expressed confidence that his organization would repeat what happened in 2003 when things went their way.
“We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal,” he stated. “This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board. As today’s dissenting opinion correctly states, “the same evidence previously found insufficient to support cancellation” here “remains insufficient” and does not support cancellation. This ruling – which of course we will appeal – simply addresses the team’s federal trademark registrations, and the team will continue to own and be able to protect its marks without the registrations. The registrations will remain effective while the case is on appeal.”
Raskopf’s statement is a less aggressive reaction, compared to those who have been more vocal in their opposition. To see the folks who are not happy about the ruling, click here.
Watch this anti-Redskins commercial: