Federal Legislation To End Redskins Trademark?

The ongoing controversy about the Washington Redskins football trademark may ultimately be resolved through legislation, rather than the court system.

A bill currently pending in the U.S. House would cancel the “Redskin” trademark registration.


The legislation, introduced by Del. Eni Faleomavaega, D-American Samoa, would call for the cancellation of all federal registrations of trademarks that use the term “redskin” in reference to Native Americans.

In addition, it would ban the registration of future trademarks that use the term. The bill has co-sponsors from both parties.

At the same time, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (TTAB) is considering a case also claiming that the trademark is offensive to Native Americans. The suit is grounded in the Trademark Act’s prohibitions against the registration of trademarks that are immoral, scandalous, or generally offensives to a relevant segment of the population.

The case was originally filed in 1992 and resulted in the cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ trademarks. However, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia overturned the decision, in large part because the plaintiffs waited too long to file their challenge.

This is probably the most famous “offensive” trademark that was registered.  Normally, the USPTO is required by law not to register certain types of marks.  Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), is an absolute bar to the registration of immoral or scandalous matter on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register.

Basically, this is a judgement call that can be overcome for some marks, but not for others.  In this case the Washington Redskins have won their days in court, hence the reason for the proposed legislation.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, are facing the cancellation or your valuable trademark, or  need any help with Intellectual Property issues, from filing a patent, trademark or copyright, or just need advice regarding how best to protect your inventions, ideas or your brand, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

One thought on “Federal Legislation To End Redskins Trademark?

  1. Interesting. I was born and raised in Washington, DC and have many friends who are diehard ‘Skins fans. I am going to share this with all my friends. Let’s see what comes of it. Peace, Ik

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s