June 18, 2014

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Cancels REDSKINS Trademarks

A split panel of three administrative trademark judges cancelled six REDSKINS trademark registrations, holding that the term "redskins" was disparaging to Native Americans at the time the trademarks were registered. 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) prohibits registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute. The full decision can be viewed here.

While this ruling only affects the registrability of the term at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and imposes no requirement on the Washington football team to change its name, it is a significant setback to Washington's cause.

The decision can (and likely will) be appealed to the Federal Circuit.

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