The Washington Redskins trademark was cancelled Wednesday morning on the grounds that that the name is disparaging.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled in the case of Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc. Judge Karen Kuhlke wrote:
"The recognition that this racial designation based on skin color is disparaging to Native Americans is also demonstrated by the near complete drop-off in usage of "redskins" as a reference to Native Americans beginning in the 1960's...In view of the above, petitioners have shown by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of Native Americans found the term REDSKINS to be disparaging in connection with respondent's services during the relevant time frame of 1967-1990. Accordingly, the six registrations must be cancelled as required under Sections 2(a) and 14(3) of the Trademark Act."
Expect the Washington Redskins to appeal. But, if this ruling gets held up, that means that the Washington Redskins would not have exclusive rights to their own name. That means they'd probably change it.
Washington Redskins declined comment to reporters at the Redskins minicamp. Their lawyer Bob Kaskopf released a statement that says the team will appeal the ruling. Kaskopf also noted that the team has been down this road before.