U.S. Patent Office Cancels Redskins Trademark Registration

The United States Patent Office has canceled the trademark registration for the Washington Redskins American football team because it says the Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans.''
 
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled on the case filed by five Native Americans. The Redskins team can appeal Wednesday's decision and retain their trademark protection during the appeal.

The ruling follows a national campaign to change the name that has gained momentum during the past year.

Some Native Americans are offended by the Redskins nickname because they say the word is a racial slur.

The team says the name has been a source of pride for more than half a century.

The Oxford Dictionary Online defines the usage of the word as one that has become a term of disparagement. President Barack Obama even has commented on the name controversy, saying last year he would consider changing the name.

Others point out that there are Native American schools that call their teams Redskins. And in a recent poll of Native Americans, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the team name offensive.

The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is similar to one it issued in 1999. That ruling was thrown out in 2003 because the courts decided that the plaintiffs did not have standing to file the case.
 
The new case was launched in 2006.

VOA News / Jun. 19, 2014 08:07 KST