Washington Redskins Lose Their Trademark Patent
The U.S. Patent Office has canceled six federal trademarks owned by the Washington Redskins, ruling that the term “Redskins” is “disparaging” to a substantial composite of American Indians.
Team officials said the Redskins will appeal the ruling. In the meantime, they can still make and sell team stuff, and even if they lose the appeal they can still sell make and sell team stuff.
But the cancellation also means you and I can make and sell team stuff. Anybody can! And that is definitely bad for team business.
Most people figure the patent office cancelled the trademark patent to encourage Washington to get rid of the term Redskins, something owner Daniel Snyder said he would “never” do. But if the team does lose its trademarks, the NFL might force Snyder to change the name.
After all the NFL doesn’t want a franchise whose name and image they can’t control, and the team owners probably wouldn’t want that, either.