There’s protests and ongoing talks about the Washington Redskins name, with many people feeling like it should be changed while ownership has tried several ploys to prove it isn’t offensive. Well another step has been taken in support of the former as a federal judge in Northern Virginia ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins federal trademark registrations on Wednesday.
The decision comes 12 months after the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins’ trademark registration because it considered the team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.”
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The cancellation doesn’t go into effect until the Redskins have exhausted the appeals process in the federal court system. But even if the Redskins ultimately took the case to the Supreme Court and lost, the team can still use “Redskins” and seek trademark protections under state law. The team has argued, however, that a cancellation of its trademarks could taint its brand and remove legal benefits that would protect against copycat entrepreneurs.
U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee’s decision affirmed an earlier ruling last year by the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which voted 2-to-1 that “Redskins” was offensive to Native Americans and ineligible under the Lanham Act for status in the federal trademark registry.