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Huge News: The U.S. Patent Office Has Canceled 6 Federal Trademarks For the Redskins Because You Can't Trademark Offensive or Disparaging Language

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ThinkProgress - The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redskins, ruling that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus cannot be trademarked under federal law that prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language. The U.S. PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a ruling in the case, brought against the team by plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse, Wednesday morning. “We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the board wrote in its opinion. “The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans. The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” Jesse Witten, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in a press release. “We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.” The Trial and Appeals Board previously rescinded the team’s trademark protections as part of a case filed in 1992. A federal court later overturned the ruling on appeal due to a technicality that the plaintiffs say has been fixed in this most recent case. We will update this post with more information.

Oh WOW. Hold on. OH FUCKING WOW. Wowowowowow. I think this is huge. Canceled. The trademarks are now canceled. That seems unreal. Unbelievable. In case you need it explained more, what this means is the Redskins don’t hold the name Redskins to themselves now. We can change the name of this site to Barstool Redskins and they can’t sue us. We can print 1000 Redskins shirts and they can’t cease and desist us. I’m pretty sure this is the beginning of the end for Snyder’s “won’t change the name no matter what” rhetoric. The money train might be slowing down. To be honest, I have no idea how big of a deal this is, but it seems big. Seems important. Sure, there is probably an appeals process. And lots of lawyers will be involved. And Daniel Snyder has unlimited deep pockets. So again, I don’t know what this actually means for the team name. In the near future, it’ll be held up in court I have to believe. In the long run, you have to believe their time is running out. Pretty big. Pretty, pretty big.