U.S. Patent Office Calls Redskins Name 'Disparaging,' Cancels Trademark Registration

By Julissa Catalan


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released an official statement on Wednesday regarding the Trademark Trail and Appeal Board’s decision in the Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. case.

According to the statement, “Petitioners met their burden to establish that the term ‘Redskins’ was ‘disparaging to Native Americans.'”

Though the NFL’s Washington Redskins gets to keep the name for the moment, the ruling does limit the team’s use of the name when it comes to merchandising and promotionfor example, apparel and memorabilia with the name.

The statement goes on to say: “The decision to cancel the registrations means that, if not appealed or not affirmed following a possible review by a federal court, the trademark owner (Pro Football, Inc.) will lose the legal benefits conferred by federal registration. These benefits include the legal presumptions of ownership and of nationwide scope of rights in these trademarks, as well as the ability to use the federal registration symbol, and to record the registrations with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Service to block importation of infringing or counterfeit foreign goods. The decision does not, however, require the trademarks in the involved registrations to be changed or no longer be used by Washington, D.C.’s pro football team.”

In 1999, American Indians won a similar case, but the NFL appealed and won in 2009.

This lawsuit was filed eight years ago by five American Indians: Amanda Blackhorse, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Phillip Glover, Jillian Pappan and Courtney Tsotigh.

“It is a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans,” Blackhorse said in a statement. “I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed.”

The call for the Redskins to be renamed has gained momentum over the last few years with the Oneida Indian Nation leading the fight.

Just last month, 50 U.S. senators signed a letter addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging the league to back the name-change campaign.

Team owner Dan Snyder has said he will never change the name.

Team officials are expected to comment on the ruling today, and it is anticipated that they will announce an appeal.

Click here to see the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board order.

Latest News

Black Lives Matter face mask for preventing spread of COVID-19

BLM T-shirts and Trump Masks Cause Uproar at Early Polling Locations; New Credit Cards Allow Trans Individuals to Use Preferred Name; and More

BLM T-shirts and Trump masks cause uproar at early polling locations. Voters’ choice of clothing when heading to the polls in Florida and Tennessee has begun making headlines across the country. The Washington Post reported that Miami police officer Daniel Ubeda has come under fire for wearing a Trump-endorsing face…

Close-up image of COVID-19 virus

Black and Latinx Individuals Increasingly Worried About Impact of COVID-19 on Career; Potential Spike in New Disabilities Due to Pandemic; and More

More than 50% of Blacks and Latinx individuals significantly worried about finances and career prospects due to pandemic. COVID-19 continues to be top of mind for most of the country, especially as cases appear to be worsening in our current third wave of the illness. But a new survey of…

Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.)

Rep. Jahana Hayes Attacked in Racist Campaign Town Hall; 1 in 4 Americans Unemployed According to New Data from Axios; and More

Racist trolls interrupt Zoom town hall hosted by Jahana Hayes, Connecticut’s first Black congresswoman. “I am not OK,” wrote Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) in a moving post describing a violent attack that took place at one of her recent campaign events. Ten minutes into the Zoom town hall for one…

reproductive, benefits, workplace

The Importance of Reproductive Benefits in the Workplace

With President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to take the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, the issue of reproductive rights has again become a hot button topic. While Ginsburg repeatedly voted against restrictions on birth control and abortion access, the historically conservative Barrett is expected to tip the…

International African American Museum Receives New Markets Tax Credits from TD Community Development Corporation

Originally published on newscenter.td.com. TD’s investment will help the non-profit create 186 new jobs, exhibit space TD Community Development Corporation (TDCDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TD Bank, N.A., announced today its allocation of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to the International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, to assist…

TIAA Survey Reveals Saving for Retirement is the No. 1 Contributor to Feeling Financially Resilient for Working Individuals, but 60% of People are Falling Behind Goals

Originally published on TIAA.com. The global COVID-19 pandemic not only presents a tremendous threat to people’s health and lives, but is also challenging the financial security of families across the nation. According to new research released today by TIAA, a leading financial services provider, nearly 60 percent of adults say…

domestic, violence, awareness

October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resources

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month takes place in October to raise awareness about this critical social and public health issue. One out of every four women and one out of every 10 men will experience sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime according to…