In a major development that could very well lead to the end of the Washington Redskins’ franchise name as we know it, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled on Wednesday that the Redskins’ federal trademark has been cancelled. The ruling was made on the ground that the team name is “disparaging to Native Americans.”
Travis Waldron of Think Progress first broke the news, noting that a name that is found to be disparaging, offensive or racist in nature cannot be trademarked under federal law. Amanda Blackhorse, who brought the motion against Pro-Football Inc., described the ruling as a “great victory” for Native Americans.
“I am extremely happy that the [Board] ruled in our favor,” Blackhorse said in a statement. “It is a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans. We filed our petition eight years ago and it has been a tough battle ever since. I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed. The team’s name is racist and derogatory. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – if people wouldn’t dare call a Native American a ‘redskin’ because they know it is offensive, how can an NFL football team have this name?”
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s full decision can be read here. Here are some of the most crucial findings.