Federal agency rejects Redskins trademark; calls term 'derogatory'

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 7, 2014 

More bad news for the Washington Redskins: following sustained protests from groups across the country that the team's name is derogatory (a long-standing criticism which intensified this season) comes a ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the team cannot trademark “Redskins Hog Rinds.” Why? It contains “a derogatory slang term,” according to The Washington Post.

According to a Dec. 29 letter from the agency, obtained by the Post, “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark REDSKINS HOG RINDS consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols.”

Meanwhile: "A lawsuit brought by a group of Native Americans aimed at revoking the NFL team’s federal trademark registration is pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ... A decision in the current case could come any day."

This ruling could be a preview for a more sweeping revocation, a move advocated for by no less than President Obama.

As ThinkProgress points out, all of this endangers the team's revenue stream. A lost trademark means lost money -- what team lawyers have warned as “every imaginable loss you can think of" -- which may be more of an incentive than any civil rights controversy.

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