NFL's Washington Redskins file appeal in trademark ruling over team name

[JURIST] The Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) [official websites] filed an appeal in federal court on Thursday to challenge a June ruling [text, PDF] by the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office [official websites] that found the team name "Redskins" is "disparaging of Native Americans." The team filed its appeal [official press release] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] alleging the administrative decision erred in its judgment and lacked the authority to consider relevant constitutional violations that would result from the cancellation [Politico report] of six of the team's federal patents. The team's patent attorney stated:

We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision[...]The Washington Redskins look forward to all of the issues in the case being heard in federal court under the federal rules of evidence.
The Redskins faced a similar ruling by the Board in 1999, which was later overturned on appeal. The complaint filed on Thursday marks the beginning of new litigation [Think Process report], but many of the issues from earlier cases remain unchanged. In June the US Patent and Trademark Office announced [JURIST report] that it will cancel six trademark registrations belonging to the Washington Redskins. Administrative trademark judge Karen Kuhlke cancelled trademarks associated with the team's name, logo and the name of their cheerleading squad. The Washington Redskins' name was criticized [JURIST report] by UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, who called in April for the team to change their name out of respect for the "historical and cultural legacy of the Native Americans in the US." Anaya visited the US in 2012 to launch [JURIST report] the UN's first ever investigation into the rights situation of Native Americans.

 

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