[Image via ABC.]
C’mon, Washington! Could you BE any more stubborn?!?
It seems NOTHING can convince Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins, to change his team’s terribly offensive name.
Not only are millions of Americans calling on the NFL squad to swap their name for something else, today the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled ALL of the Redskins’ trademarks after finding the name to be disparaging to Native Americans.
But the organization announced soon after that they will not do away with the well-known name and that today’s decision will have ZERO effect at all on their team!
Their arguments for why they want to keep calling themselves the Redskins are pretty shocking.
We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal. This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board canceled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board.
As today’s dissenting opinion correctly states, “the same evidence previously found insufficient to support cancellation” here “remains insufficient” and does not support cancellation.
This ruling – which of course we will appeal – simply addresses the team’s federal trademark registrations, and the team will continue to own and be able to protect its marks without the registrations. The registrations will remain effective while the case is on appeal.
When the case first arose more than 20 years ago, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled on appeal in favor of the Washington Redskins and their trademark registrations.
As the district court’s ruling made clear in 2003, the evidence ‘is insufficient to conclude that during the relevant time periods the trademark at issue disparaged Native Americans…’ The court continued, ‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court review’s today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.
In today’s ruling, the Board’s Marc Bergsman agreed, concluding in his dissenting opinion:
'It is astounding that the petitioners did not submit any evidence regarding the Native American population during the relevant time frame, nor did they introduce any evidence or argument as to what comprises a substantial composite of that population thereby leaving it to the majority to make petitioner’s case have some semblance of meaning.'
The evidence in the current claim is virtually identical to the evidence a federal judge decided was insufficient more than ten years ago. We expect the same ultimate outcome here.