Archive for June, 2014

USPTO Cancels Racist Team Trademark

June 18, 2014

In a landmark ruling issued today, the USPTO has cancelled trademarks of the Washington R******* football team, finding that the terms and images were disparaging to Native Americans.  The marks were registered between 1967 and 1990.  While cancelling the team’s trademark registrations, the Board noted that it does not have authority to prevent the actual use of the marks, which includes the offensive words and images.  Thus, it appears that anyone can now use those racist words and images, without implications of trademark infringement.  However, the best course is to relegate them to history, and the Washington team should start looking for a new and dignified name…with Atlanta baseball following suit.


The case is  Blackhorse v. Pro-Football (Amanda Blackhorse, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Philip Gover, Jillian Pappan, and Courtney Tsotigh v. Pro-Football, Inc.), Cancellation No. 92046185, June 18, 2014


The Board’s decision is worth reading and it is here:

More coverage at Think Progress, New York Times, Washington Post