Washington Redskins may be able keep trademark on 'disparaging' name

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Feb 18, 2006
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    A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the government was wrong to reject trademarks of names that are deemed offensive.

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had ruled in June 2014 that because the Redskins name is offensive to Native Americans, the team could not trademark its name. It cited federal law that prohibited "registering scandalous, immoral, or disparaging" trademarks.

    The team and the NFL have been fighting to keep the trademark in place ever since. The Redskins never actually lost their trademark -- those protections were kept in place during the appeals process.

    The Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday did not directly involve the Redskins. It ruled that an Asian American rock band called The Slants had the right to trademark protections even if some people were offended by the name.

    "The government enacted this law - and defends it today - because it disapproves of the messages conveyed by disparaging marks," wrote the court in its decision. "It is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment that the government may not penalize private speech merely because it disapproves of the message it conveys."


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