U.S. Patent Office cancels Washington Redskins trademark

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The U.S. Patent Office has canceled trademarks belonging to the Redskins football team, saying they are offensive to Native Americans.

In a decision released Wednesday, the office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that “these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans.”

The Patent Office said it will continue to treat the patents as though they are valid while the team appeals the decision. The team has two months to do that, and the whole process could take years.

In the meantime, the Redskins can continue using the logos.

But the decision, if upheld, would make it harder for the team to claim ownership of its brand. If it wants to go to court against a counterfeiter making T-shirts with the team’s logo, for instance, it will be harder to show that the organization owns the brand. The team will have to illustrate that they have always used the logos, rather than relying official trademark registrations.

The decision came in response to a suit brought by five Native Americans.

“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” said Alfred W. Putnam, Jr., Chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, which represented the five men and women.

The board also canceled the registrations in 1999, but a federal judge overturned that decision in 2003, saying there was no proof that the name was disparaging at the time of registration. Some of the patents date back to the 1960s.


  • Mark Stabler

    Another example of this wonderful Administration and the reforming of America that Your President promised. Our whole way of life is now based on what the minority wants (even if it is 5 individuals). The majority of the citizens have absolutely no rights and if this regime stays in Washington much longer what you do have in the bank, real estate or stocks will be taken away and given to the less fortunate. I think they call that Communism. In a few short years we have become a third class nation. I think I’ll file a complaint against some tech patents because they are causing the rich to get richer and I want my cut. Take a look around you and guess which next company name will have to be changed because it offends someone. I’m going to find one and raise h*** about it soon.

  • sinner 3

    More of the same this was all pushed and oked by O-Hole and Holder to get this done ! Nothing without the approval of this gang of incompetents will be allowed ! Where there is no crime as if we do not have enough, lets just create crimes to pick and choose to enforce ! Does anyone really take offense to this ?

    • MeHereNow

      Oh dear. Maybe it would be best if you didn’t reply. Your use of capitalization, as well as the word “stuppidness”, does not support your opinion in the slightest. Maybe next time you can try a little harder and focus a little more on grammar to get your point across. Normally I do not comment; however, your complete lack of grammatical skills needed to be pointed out. Sorry.

      • Sinner 3

        Yea, that’s real nice of you to point out the grammar mistakes! I guess we all need a little grammar Nazi around !

  • Really?

    They should think about changing their name. They should drop Washington from their name. Hail to the Redskins!!

  • b.alex

    I agree with Mr Stabler. This is the worst leadership of a country since the days of Hitler and we’re all to blame for ever allowing these yahoos to be voted in .

  • anon

    Most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of. Are the animals at the zoo going to get mad next because of the Panthers, Lions and Jaguars? Will tall people take offense of the NY Giants? Aren’t there more important things to worry about than the name of a football team? I love football, don’t get me wrong but I think impeaching the president should be more important.

  • joe

    The next thing will be the Cleveland Indians. This country better wake up…………….quickly!!!

  • parsonhenry1957

    I am a native American and I would rather be referred to as a Red Skin than a “Native American”. My skin is Red, I can relate to that, Native makes me thing of someone that lives in a jungle and what is this america . Who is this “North American and his brother South America.” Red Skin” or “Braves” is okay. it’s a lot better than being called a wet back, honky, spick, green-go or 1000 others. Let’s not forget “Red Man “.

    • Chucky

      LOL You just about got them all in there. :) What gets me is if they were calling people Redskins, it would be protected speech but since they named their mascot that, it’s inflammatory and is not protected.

  • triadkid

    Thank you sinner 3. MEHERENOW must be one of those Liberals at the US Patent Office. Got nothing to do. Next our government will be telling the New Orleans Saints that they can not be Saints. where does it all end. I’m part Native American and I do not find the Washington Redskins name offensive.

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