A federal judge this week ordered the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the Washington Redskins trademark. This is a huge blow for an 80-year-old NFL franchise that has faced a growing swell of criticism from Native American groups and other activists over its team name.
The team has a glimmer of hope in the appeals process. From Politico:
The cancellation would not go into effect, however, until the Redskins have gone through all of their appeals. Even if they were to bring it to the Supreme Court and lose the case, the team could still use the name and seek trademark protections under state law in Virginia, where the team is headquartered.
The decision has been in the works for nine years, since 2006, when a group of Native Americans petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The group’s petition claimed that the team’s name was offensive, and cited the Lanham Act, which bans anything from being trademarked that would signify contempt for a group of people.