U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejects first application for Washington Football Team trademark

Washington Football Team Mandatory Minicamp
Getty Images

Last year, Washington dumped its controversial nickname, adopting Washington Football Team instead. At a time when consideration has been given to making that non-name the permanent name of the team, a decision from the federal agency with jurisdiction over these matters dealt the franchise a setback.

Via Sam Fortier of the Washington Post, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has refused the franchise’s request for trademark protection of the Washington Football Team name. The agency concluded that the name refers to a geographic area that is too generic, and that the notorious trademark squatter Martin McCaulay already has submitted an application for the name. (The first conclusion seemingly would invalidate McCaulay’s claim, too.)

It’s only the beginning not the end, and the process will continue. And the outcome of the process has no relevance to whether the team can use the name. The only question is whether the name can be protected for marketing purposes.

That’s more than enough to push the team toward a different name. Indeed, the team faced an extended attack on the trademark rights of its prior name, under the notion that, if the trademark rights were scrapped and anyone/everyone could sell merchandise bearing the name, the team would abandon it.

Thus, if WFT ultimately can’t be legally protected, the team will find a name that can be protected. Other than the one they abandoned last year, presumably.

31 responses to “U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejects first application for Washington Football Team trademark

  1. Maybe the solution to this is to actually pick a legitimate name for the franchise.

  2. So why do a lot of the professional soccer teams have Football Club as their name?

  3. While I think that they should conform to the league and find a real moniker, FC Dallas is trademarked. I don’t see why Washington FT can’t be trademarked. If Snyder would have given in and changed the name to Warriors years ago nothing else would need to have been changed. The logo in itself isn’t racist. It’s not a cartoon, etc. It’s basically the same as the Native American profile found on the Buffalo nickel. It’s a proud representation of a Native American warrior. I don’t see why they still can’t do that to honor the original settlers of this continent.

  4. This won’t end well. I can’t imagine them finding a team name that even half the fans will like. They are going to over-think it with some trying-too-hard name that will make everyone wish they had just picked a generic animal name, even though a generic animal name would also be disliked. I do believe a cool name and logo are out there, I just don’t expect them to find it.

  5. alright washington, the patent and trademark office did you a solid, encouraging you to actually come up with a decent name. Now you can keep the same strategy but trademark Washington Halfasses…problem solved.

  6. How about the Dan Snyder mysoginists, or perhaps the bigots, or Liars or the Snyder Swine?

  7. The Insurrection.
    The Veto.
    The Impeachers.
    The Swamp
    The Lobbyists.
    The Party.
    The 1776.
    The Monuments.
    The Presidents.
    The Insiders.

  8. Soccer teams use specific terms. Washington Football Team is literally a generic statement. Any football team in Washington is a Washington Football Team so it is much too vague. They probably could trademark “WFT” or “Washington FT” as that would make it more specific and not make it so they could sue anyone who makes any mention of football in Washington much like Soccer clubs do.

  9. Oh for the love of Pete, would you just hire some marketing people to come up with a new name already?! Are you really trying to call your team “Washington Football Team” permanently??? Stop being so lazy Snyder…

  10. There used to be the baseball franchise in Washington years ago named Washington Senators, maybe they could buy the rights to that name. It would be fitting, Just a thought.

  11. IMO the Washington Natives would be a perfect name for the team. In this sense they can pay homage to our native americans in Washington and still be able to use the same logo and trade mark that has been the staple of that franchise for so many years. Your welcome Dan Snyder, I won’t even charge you for my services.

  12. ttl255 says:
    June 20, 2021 at 3:19 pm
    Washington Team Football

    WTF….

    They’d sell a lot of hats and shirts…

    ——————————

    Or just The Washington WTF. Keep it simple. Sell shirts.

  13. It looks like notorious trademark squatter Martin McCaulay has grabbed just about every moniker out there looking for a huge payday from Daniel Snyder. Maybe Snyder should trademark the name Martin McCaulay and charge him millions of dollars just to use his own name.

  14. Please get rid of Washington Football Team, the dumbest sounding name in the history of sports. Please go with Washington Sentinels!! Sentinels is the best choice by far!! Dump WFT!!!!

  15. I don’t see how that is any less descriptive than tons of other names that get trademarked. Half the MLS teams have “Football Club” in their name and the other half are “Real” something or other.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.