Patent Office Decides Racism Is Bad: Nixes Redskins Trademark

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With the discourse around the name of the Washington football team reaching a new threshold of volume, and with more and more people who aren’t Dan Snyder coming to the realization that the name is, you know, offensively racist, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled all six of the team’s trademarks on the name because “the name is disparaging of Native Americans.” The Redskins, like the Cleveland Indians, have come under fire for their defense of logos (in Cleveland’s case) and names that were derogatory in nature. Fans and owners of both teams have vehemently protested against the notion — regardless of the apparent simplicity.

But what does this mean outside of the legal argument that’s sure to come? According to Amy Trask, one time CEO of the Oakland Raiders, “when all the appellate rights are exhausted, the Federal government will no longer be affording its protection to the [Redskins] marks and logos. Which means that, initially, others can go out and use those marks and logos for commercial gain — and the team, and the league, will not be able to stop that.”

“We’ve seen this story before,” Robert Raskopf, an attorney who has been representing the team since 1992, when the first case against the team over the name was filed in 1992, told The Washington Post. “And just like last time, today’s ruling will have no effect at all on the team’s ownership of and right to use the Redskins name and logo.” The Redskins successfully overturned a previous ruling over the name in 2009, and fail to acknowledge that the name is in any way offensive, instead pointing to Snyder’s attempted absolution through charitable donations for Native American Causes, because being a millionaire sports owner of a team with a blatantly racist name means never having to say you’re sorry.

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