New challenge coming for “Redskins” trademark

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The Washington Redskins have made clear that they have no interest in changing their team name, no matter how many people say they’re offended by it. But they’re now facing a renewed legal challenge that could change their way of thinking.

On Thursday a group of Native Americans will go before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to argue that the team should lose federal trademark protection for the term “Redskins” because law prohibits trademarking disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable names. Many Native Americans say the term “Redskins” is a racial slur, although the team says there’s nothing offensive about it.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because it has happened before: A different group of Native Americans has previously made the same challenge, but that challenge was thrown out not because the word “Redskins” was ruled not to be offensive, but because the people who brought the challenge were ruled not to have standing to make the challenge.

In fighting off the previous challenge, the Redskins said the franchise had spent “millions of dollars . . . promoting, advertising, and protecting its mark.” That shows how valuable the ability to trademark the team name is to the Redskins.

And if the Redskins were to lose their trademark, they could lose a fortune in merchandising because they would no longer have the exclusive right to sell Redskins apparel. That might be what it takes to make Dan Snyder reconsider whether he’s willing to change the team’s name.

51 responses to “New challenge coming for “Redskins” trademark

  1. Pretty sure they could make a couple bucks in selling new merchandise.

    Rename yourselves The Hogs and be done with it.

  2. Not a Skins fan. Logicalvoicesays might be the most annoying fan i’ve ever seen post and never makes sense. But as a football fan, leave the name alone. If you’re offended by it, don’t watch football. People need to put their big boy pants on and just let it be.

  3. while they are at it

    tell the skins to move the team stadium back into the city,

    RFK ,


    not PG county fedex field landover md

  4. I don’t get it… If the Redskins lose the trademark on the name, how does that make them any different than the Giants, Cowboys, Rams, Vikings, Eagles, Falcons, etc.? Certainly those teams don’t and could never have trademarks on those names. I get that the Redskins would lose money by changing names, but wouldn’t they also stand to make a ton when all their fans have to buy new shirts/hats/jerseys in bulk?

  5. Given that Snyder threatens a lawsuit everytime he is criticized in the press and claims all criticism towards him is based on anti-Semitism, I have to say the irony of all of this is absolutely delicious.

  6. I’m conflicted by this, I love the team but I definitely understand the offensiveness of the name AND logo. In a perfect world the name and logo would always be the same but in the real world there is quite a bit of steam behind this current campaign.

    As a side bar, what’s up with these attacks on the team? The salary cap crap with the league, all the hate from fans (except RGIII) and media?

  7. This is never going to go away so why not just drop the ‘Red’ and go by the Skins going forward…keep the same colors and maybe revert back to the old school arrow/feather or a nice looking W…few yrs from now ppl will be over it.

  8. @ cruuuzcontrol

    you gotta take in consideration of all the printed material in every store which will then not be allowed to be sold…thats millions in lost revenue

  9. They’ll be forced to change it eventually, guaranteed; And then it’ll be off to sensitivity training for Snyder. Once the PC zealots latch on it’s only a matter of time!

  10. The team says there is nothing offensive about it?

    Snyder and the organization is in no position to say what is offensive and what is not to a minority in this nation.

    IF the team did the right thing, think of how much money Snyder would make with new uniforms and new logos and other paraphernalia. I don’t think that would offend the team.

    What would offend the team?

  11. Fine, you know what? Syracuse University changed their name from “Orangemen” to “Orange”. Let’s follow the same logic: change the name from “Redskins” to “Reds” and everyone will be happy…

    …until the team gets sued again by the Defense Association of the Color Green!

  12. Changing the name from the Redskins to Reds would be fitting, given that most who are pushing for this are a bunch of leftist commies anyway.

    Seriously folks, since Dan Snyder and the NFL really don’t seem interested in meeting the demands of those that want this changed, isn’t it time for the Florios and other agitators in the world of sports to move on and pick a more realistic battle to fight?

  13. Hey Florio: why wasn’t the team’s nickname an issue when they were quaterbacked by hacks like Grossman, Campbell, Brunell, Ramsey et al when they sucked? Now that they have RG3 and they’re good it’s a problem that warrants our attention? Just drop it and move on to something else!

  14. I was upset when St Johns University changed their name from The Redmen to the red storm! The name Redskins keeps the history alive. What comes next, the Chicago Hockey Team will have to change it’s name, the Cleveland and Atlanta Baseball Teams will have to change their names! The new Pope will make the San Diego Baseball Team change it’s name. Where will it stop?

  15. See, Florio, this is how an article on a controversial subject should be written. Post facts, leave out the biased opinion and name calling (bigots, racists, ect) of people who don’t think like you.

  16. We should change the state name “Oklahoma” since it translates to Land of the Red Man.

    Seriously, do people seriously go around calling Native Americans “Redskins” in a derogatory manner? I’ve never seen or heard about it. The team name Redskins isn’t intended to be offensive, in any kind of way. So obviously these people WANT to be offended.

  17. This whole name thing is ridiculous to the most extreme level. Why exactly are all these native Americans JUST NOW getting upset? Why haven’t they been fighting this fight since 1932 when the team was established? Why? Because some group felt they needed some publicity and with that probably comes cash. They probably aren’t even full blooded native Americans they are probably neighbors of someone that knows a family that is. This is the only time I’ll root for the REDSKINS to win.

  18. This kind of crap is what is wrong with America! With all of the real issues facing this country people are wasting time on this. This name might be offensive if you called someone a Redskin, but there is no one hurt by Washington having that name. It is merely grand standing and people trying to get their name in the paper. Wake up America and deal with real issues!

  19. If we are going to change every team name that is offensive, say goodbye to so called racist team names like Redskins, Indians, Braves and Blackhawks, religious affiliated team names like Saints, Angels and Devils, perhaps the Patriots that offends non-Americans, Giants that offends little people, and Steelers that offend everyone.

  20. What are they going to call those potatoes with the “Red Skin” in the grocery store? Maybe they’ll sue Idaho. Or maybe hookers will sue “I Da Ho”. Better not give the lawyers any more ideas………

  21. raider8er says: Mar 6, 2013 7:40 PM

    The team says there is nothing offensive about it?
    Snyder and the organization is in no position to say what is offensive and what is not to a minority in this nation.
    IF the team did the right thing, think of how much money Snyder would make with new uniforms and new logos and other paraphernalia. I don’t think that would offend the team.
    What would offend the team?
    Your point is a good one, sort of. Snyder and the organization are not in a position to say “what is offensive and what is not to a minority”. However, neither does the group filing the suit.

    The National Congress of American Indians, who also issued the original challenge, claim to represent Native interests throughout the Continental US and Alaska, is endorsed by only two recognized tribal organization, each with a constituency of less than 200 members.

    Though a uniting force throughout the middle of the 20th century, the NCAI has since seen support withdrawn by the governing body of every major tribal organization, Native governing body and intertribal organization in the country due to corruption, malfeasance and a greater commitment to serving themselves than the interest of Native groups and organizations.

    At this point, the NCAI is essentially a self-serving litigious body threatening and serving lawsuits to perpetuate its own existence, rather than serving the Native population it supposedly protects.

    In other words, they have as much of a right to determine what is and what is not offensive to America’s indigenous population as Snyder does.

  22. “Momentum builds for a Redskins name change, and one man can make it happen”: 351 comments
    “D.C. mayor wants the Redskins to consider changing their name”: 298 comments
    “D.C. mayor backpedals on Redskins name change”: 54 comments
    “Push against “Redskins” name doesn’t subside”: 89 comments
    “this article”: 20 comments. It’s hard to have a conversation when only one side is allowed to speak. All I was doing is citing an article by the chairmen of several Native nations on the validity of the NCAI and their right to represent the Native community . I didn’t even take a stance. This website is ridiculous.

  23. How would Daniel Snyder like an NFL team being called the Kikes or Shylocks?

  24. The Washington Justice.

    I know it’s an oxymoron, but you have to admit it’d be a cool team name.

  25. Vikings, packers, or how about the Raiders? look at their fan base and look at these names and how come they’not being evaluated as offensive? nobody is offended by this team name and it’s not fair for small of people who are too lazy to turn a channel to overturn a whole group of people who totally outweighs there vote. this would be different if the team was around for 10 years. instead they been around for 81 years. stop trying to make a situation of something that is nothing. I’m a proud Redskins fan. it be nice if somehow all the fans could file lawsuit against the Indians who are try to change the name. we all know this is ridiculous and if you’re going to change the Redskins name you might as well change the Cowboys name because Cowboys killed Indians.. yet where are these group of Indians? in d.c against the Redskins name. All I can say is..Wow..

  26. All of the Sports Highlights shows could refuse to show Washington highlights or news.

    Some state should ban any organization that uses an offensive name from doing business in their state. Then Washington could not participate in a game in that particular state or the NFL wold have to relocate the game to a neutral site.

  27. To all of you that think this whole thing is a joke and we just need to “put on our big boy pants” : If L.A gets a new team and they call them the Blackskins everybody would be cool with that?

  28. If it can’t be the Redskins then name it the Washington Redheads. Then Goodell will be flattered, thinking the team is named in honor of him and give us back our $36 million.

  29. silasrude, your comment is moronic. Your example is MEANT to be a racial slur. If you look at the history of team, it was never intended to be a slur.

  30. 2 things:

    1. I thought this happened, and was denied, ~20 years ago. Maybe not.

    2. The Redskins should offer to change their name if the NFL gives them 25 million back in cap this year, the remaining 11 million in cap next year, plus draft pick compensation this year for forcing them to play at a competitive disadvantage for the entirety of last season.

    In the end, if the Redskins are going to have to change their name (likely), at least use it as a bargaining chip at a time when it’s needed.

  31. Since it doesn’t offend anyone, maybe Snyder could name the team after his heritage and call it the Washington Hebrews. No offense to anybody, its just a name.

  32. Simple question, what do you think of when you hear the word “Redskins”? Do you think of the football team or do you think bad things about Native Americans? Almost everyone will think of the football team. That argument alone should put this to rest.

  33. When did we get so wrapped up in making sure that nobody is offended?? (and what can we do to get off it) Look, if you find it offensive, don’t buy tickets, write letters to Danny, picket the games, put adds in newspapers and online suggesting other people don’t go to games. When DS decides it makes sense for his bottom line, he’ll change the name. THAT is the American way (despite what the current nanny-state proponents will tell you). -d

  34. Manderson has it correctly. It’s the intent. The broad population, when they hear the word Redskins think of the football team. A small minority of people will hear that and think something else. Of that small minority, there are people that think Indians. It’s safe to say that the term has evolved. In addition, there is not a consensus among the Native American population that this is a racial term. In fact it is quite the opposite. In a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania from 2004 found that 91% of the American Indians surveyed in the 48 states on the mainland USA found the name acceptable. The Redskins name is intended to honor the bravery and dignity of American Indians and that, regardless of past usage, the word redskins today refers to the football team.

    This is another attempt by the nanny state thought police to put on their guilt jackets and fight another battle for people who didn’t ask for and don’t want their help. There is not a more humiliating feeling than when someone fights a battle for you when you didn’t want it. The 91% don’t want this fight, didn’t ask for it and are now feeling heat that they never signed up for. Stop with the nonsense. Leave the name alone. The people that are taking up this cause are not doing so for the betterment of the Indians. Their main motive is because of their guilt.

  35. The name won’t be changing anytime soon. Groups fight this every few years but it always gets thrown out and will again. These fights have never about changing the name, it’s always about how much money they can get (Redskins merchandising profits). Read up on it and Think about it.

  36. what if instead of a native american on the helmet and in the middle of the field we go with a potato

    No Fan of the Redskins uses that word as a racial slur, whats ignorant is people still calling them indians – indians come from india just cuz columbus was a moron doesn’t mean we need to be

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