The United States Patent and Trademark Office revoked the trademark belonging to the Washington Redskins. Because of the offensive meaning of the word “redskin”, the ruling states, the mark cannot be retained as “..federal law… prohibits the protection of offensive or disparaging language”. The USPTO argued the mark should not have been granted in the first place.
An appeal to the decision is likely, but…
The Trial and Appeals Board rescinded the team’s trademark protections in a 1999 ruling that was part of a case filed in 1992. A federal court later overturned the ruling on appeal due to a technicality that the plaintiffs say has been fixed in this most recent case.
The team will almost certainly appeal the case, and it will be able to keep its trademark protection during appeal. Losing the trademark would not force the team to change its name, but it would allow anyone who wanted to use “Redskins” on merchandise or through other means to do so, which could cost the team — and, because of the NFL’s revenue-sharing model, other NFL teams — “every imaginable loss you can think of,” as the team’s lawyers argued in the original case. For that reason, the trademark has long been thought of by opponents of the team’s name as the easiest avenue to changing it.