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Patent Officials Cancel the Washington Redskins' 'Disparaging' Trademarks

Patent Officials Cancel the Washington Redskins' 'Disparaging' Trademarks
Photograph by Nick Wass/AP Photo

The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an opinion on Wednesday that six trademarks registered by the National Football League’s Washington Redskins must be cancelled because they disparage American Indians. The decision gives hope to petitioners who been seeking to strip the team of federal trademark protection since 1992.

The opinion from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirms three key claims: The name and symbols of the team carry an association to American Indians; they are disparaging to a substantial number of people; and the team trademarks were offensive at the time they were registered, from 1967 to 1990.