Join The Discussion

 

Fort Worth's TPG takes controlling interest in Hollywood, sports powerhouse

A Fort Worth firm has gone Hollywood.

read more >

Downtown Fort Worth TIF reaches parking agreement with four garages

The TIF board will meet Oct. 29 to consider the agreements.

read more >

Oil price drop goes unnoticed in Texas' Eagle Ford shale

CUERO, Texas — From her vantage point of the U.S. shale oil boom, Jill Potts doesn't see anything to worry about.

read more >

Renovated Daniel-Meyer to put TCU basketball in the spotlight

You might say the Texas Christian University men’s basketball team was the sacrificial lamb in the university’s football-motivated move from the Mountain West Conference to the Big 12 Conference. The rising

read more >

TABC won’t hear Glen Garden case as purchase moves forward

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has dismissed several protests against a permit for a proposed whiskey distillery at the Glen Garden Country Club.

read more >

Redskins' 'disparaging' trademark canceled by patent office

 

Mason Levinson and Susan Decker
(c) 2014, Bloomberg News.

WASHINGTON – The Washington Redskins football team's trademark registration for its nickname was canceled Wednesday by a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeals board, limiting the club's ability to prevent its use by others.

The ruling doesn't prevent the National Football League franchise from continuing to use the nickname, the office said in a statement.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an independent administrative tribunal within the patent office, determined that the petitioners established that the term "Redskins" was "disparaging" of Native Americans, so federal trademark registrations must be canceled, it said in the statement.

The ruling is the most recent clash in a 22-year fight between the franchise and American Indians over the team's nickname. It may provide more pressure on Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the name, said Monica Riva Talley, a trademark lawyer with Sterne Kessler in Washington.

"It should be viewed as additional evidence that this term is disparaging and offensive, and it might help swing public opinion as to whether this should be the name of the team in the nation's capital," Talley said in a telephone interview.

The Redskins won a separate appeals court ruling in May 2009 over whether the trademarks should be canceled, ending a legal fight that began in 1992. The court ruled that the plaintiffs waited too long to complain. The new petition involved younger people.

Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, didn't have an immediate comment about the ruling. Tony Wyllie, a spokesman for the Redskins, didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

The team, founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves, was renamed in 1933 as the Boston Redskins in honor of its head coach, an American Indian, according to court records. The team moved to the District of Columbia in 1937.

The trademark will remain intact until after any judicial review is completed.

The case, Blackhorse v Pro Football Inc., the closely held parent company of the Redskins, was a joint petition filed by five native Americans, who sought cancellation of six federal trademark registrations that included the term "Redskins."

The team asserted in its defense that the cancellation shouldn't be allowed because the registrations had existed for decades and been the subject of significant investment, though the board "found the defense inapplicable as to the petitioners' case," it said.

Among the benefits of trademark registration are the legal presumption of ownership and a nationwide scope of rights related to the trademark; the ability to use the federal registration symbol; and the ability to register the trademark with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Service to block the import of counterfeit goods.

The board determines only whether a trademark can be registered with the U.S. government, not whether it can be used. The team may still have rights in the trademark based on use, known as "common law" rights, and such rights may continue to exist even if a federal registration is canceled, the board said.

The Redskins can file an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, or file a civil action in district court.

Levinson reported from New York.
 

 

< back

Email   email
hide
Ebola
How worried are you about Ebola spreading?