Washington Redskins lose trademark protection but vow to appeal decision

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the name disparages Native Americans

Maria Tadeo
Thursday 19 June 2014 15:41 BST
The US government has revoked the official trademark registration of the Washington Redskins
The US government has revoked the official trademark registration of the Washington Redskins (National Congress of American Indians/YouTube)

A US federal trademark board has cancelled the Washington Redskins trademarks after ruling the controversial nickname " disparages Native Americans".

The team said it will appeal the decision, which does not bar the Redskins from using the name, but strips it of protection to stop others from using it, despite mounting political pressure on owner Dan Snyder to change the name.

"We've seen this story before," said the team's attorney, Bob Raskopf, in a statement. "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. We are confident we will prevail once again."

The case was filed on behalf of five Native Americans who argued the nickname is offensive and a painful reminder of their suffering throughout American history.

Redskins' owner Snyder has refused to change the name in multiple occasions, arguing that it honours Native Americans. A similar ruling canceled the team's trademarks in 1999 was overturned on a technicality in 2003.

In a statement, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the decision applies to six trademarks - all containing the word Redskins - on the grounds that they " were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered".

The Oneida Indian Nation welcomed the decision adding that, "if the most basic sense of morality, decency and civility has not yet convinced" the team to stop using what they described as a "hateful slur", the ruling would serve to stop Mr Snyder from profiting off "the denigration and dehumanisation" of Native Americans.

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