In a landmark decision Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled six federal trademarks belonging to the Washington Redskins football organization.
The Redskins have been under heavy fire in recent months to change the name of the program as many feel it is offensive to Native Americans. A group of young Native Americans filed suit in 2006 to have the name changed, and on Wednesday the USPTO ruled six trademarks violate rules that prevent trademarks that can disparage individuals or groups filed between 1967 and 1990.
The ruling, however, does not force the Washington football organization to change its name.
Vickie Sutton, associate dean for research and faculty development in the School of Law at Texas Tech University, is available to speak on the matter regarding how often this has happened and what it could mean for the organization going forward. She also has experience working in various agencies of the federal government, giving her keen insights into the workings in Washington, D.C.
• “The USPTO finally revoked the ‘Washington Redskins’ trademark as disparaging to Native Americans both today and when the mark was first registered.”
• “In 1999, the USPTO held hearings on the use of tribal insignia and names. Testifying in the hearings were representatives of Jeep Cherokee, Daimler Chrysler Co., Oneida, Ltd., a flatware manufacturer, and the Mohawk Carpet Corporations.”
• “However, the use of tribal names has sometimes been blessed by tribes such as the inauguration of the Apache Longbow Helicopter.”
Dr. Vickie Sutton, associate dean for research and faculty development, Texas Tech School of Law, Texas Tech University, firstname.lastname@example.org.