U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Cancels Washington NFL Trademark Registration


WASHINGTON — In a victory for those opposed to the Washington National Football League’s usage of Redskins, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday canceled the team’s trademark registration.

Trademarks that “disparage or belittle” other groups are illegal under federal law.

According to a Patent and Trademark office statement, “The decision does not, however, require the trademarks in the involved registrations to be changed or no longer be used by Washington, D.C.’s pro football team. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board does not have jurisdiction in a cancellation proceeding to require that a party cease use of a mark, but only to determine whether a mark may continue to be registered.  This decision can be reviewed by a federal court. The registrations will not appear in the USPTO’s records as cancelled until after any judicial review is completed.”

Senator Jon Tester (D- Mont.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement after the U.S. Patent Office issued a decision to cancel the trademark of the name of the Washington D.C. football team:

“This decision is a step forward for Indian country and for all Americans who champion tolerance.  No team or organization should profit from a dictionarydefined racial slur.”   

The case of Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. was decided today in favor of the plaintiff.  The case was filed in 2006 by Amanda Blackhorse, a member of the Navajo Nation.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an independen

Today’s announcement involves six trademarks containing the offensive word “Redskin.”

The NFL team is expected to fight today’s opinion.

This is a developing story. 

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