The Washington Redskins may soon have to change their name, as the United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the team name because it’s “disparaging to Native Americans.”
According to the Washington Post, the case was brought before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board by five Native Americans and was the second effort to eradicate the name. Wednesday (June 18), the trademarks were successfully canceled as federal laws prohibit the retainment of offensive language.
“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, Think Progress reports. “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.”
A group of Native Americans previously aired an anti-Redskins ad during NBA Finals, urging the team to change their name and asserting that they do not identify themselves by that term.
In remains to be seen what will happen with regard to the team name. When asked if he would consider changing the name if they lost the federal trademark lawsuit, team owner Daniel Snyder replied, “We’ll never change the name … It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”