US Patent & Trademark Office Cancels Washington Redskins Trademark Registrations

US Patent & Trademark Office Cancels Washington Redskins Trademark Registrations

 by Elizabeth Papendorp

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or the Board), an adjudicatory division of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, issued a decision on June 18, 2014 cancelling six trademark registrations previously granted to Pro Football, Inc. for the use of the term “Redskins” for professional football related services [an enhanced version of the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers]. TTAB made clear that the cancellations related only to registration of the trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Board did not address the right to use the trademarks, finding that such a decision exceeded the authority granted to it.

The Board indicated that the evidence showed that “a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging” in connection with professional football services during the years at issue. TTAB rejected the defense that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of laches or delay, finding that there was a broad public interest in having the issues addressed.

Related post: David N. Feldman-What’s the Legal Impact of the Redskins Trademark Decision? 

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