Earlier today, the Washington Washington Football Team name change was made a forseeable reality when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found the 82-year-old logo disparaging and offensive to Native Americans.
Obviously, this didn’t bode well with conservative Republicans and Obama haters who felt the government had overstepped their jurisdiction on the longtime issue.
Bob Raskopf, the trademark attorney for the Washington Washington Football Team, released a statement confident that his organization would prevail, similar to how they did in 2003.
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 cancelled the Washington Football Team's 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 Washington Football Team 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.
Several armchair activists and politicians agreed with Raskopf in a more aggressive manner.
Flip through the gallery below to see the outrage the potential Washington Washington Football Team name change has sparked.