Redskins appeal trademark decision on team name - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Redskins appeal trademark decision on team name

Posted: Updated:

By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins on Thursday formally appealed a ruling that stripped the team of trademark protection, the latest legal maneuver in the franchise's attempt to defend its name against those who consider it a racial slur.

The team announced that it had filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and that it "points out the many errors" in the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board voted 2-1 on June 18 to cancel six uses of "Redskins" trademarked from 1967 to 1990, saying the name is "disparaging of Native Americans."

"We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision," Redskins lawyer Bob Raskopf said in the team's statement.

The team had previously said it would appeal the ruling and had two months to do so. The trademark protection remains in place while the matter makes its way through the courts, a process that could take years. A similar ruling by the trademark board in 1999 was overturned on a technicality in 2003. Native Americans have been challenging the trademark since 1992.

The Redskins say they will ask the court to consider "serious constitutional issues," including whether the ruling penalizes the team's right of free speech and whether the team has been unfairly deprived of "valuable and long-held intellectual property rights."

The group of five Native Americans challenging the name is equally confident.

"This effort is doomed to fail," said Amanda Blackhorse, the lead plaintiff. "But if they want to prolong this litigation which has already gone on for 22 years, I guess they have that prerogative."

The Redskins have been under sustained pressure to defend the name over the last 18 months, with major political, church and sports figures joining the debate and saying it should be changed.

Team owner Dan Snyder has vowed never to change the name, calling it a "badge of honor."

"If people wouldn't dare call a Native American a 'redskin' because they know it is offensive, how can an NFL football team have this name?" Blackhorse said. "We know that time is on our side for a change in the team's name, and we are confident we will win once again at this stage of the litigation."

___

AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Statement by the Washington Redskins on appeal of trademark decision:

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The following is a statement by the Washington Redskins on the filing of its appeal related to the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's action concerning the team name:

Today the Washington Redskins NFL team filed its appeal of the split decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) ordering cancellation of the Washington Redskins' long-held federal trademark registrations. The appeal is in the form of a complaint, effectively starting the litigation anew, this time in a federal court before a federal judge, and not in the administrative agency that issued the recent split decision.

“We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision,” said Bob Raskopf, trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins.

The Washington Redskins' complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, explains why the Court should reverse the Board's order and properly find that Native Americans did not consider the team name “Washington Redskins” to be disparaging during the relevant time frame of 1967-1990. While the complaint points out the many errors in the Board's decision, the federal judge may disregard the Board's decision entirely in conducting its own independent evaluation of the evidence.

The complaint also asks the federal court to consider the serious Constitutional issues that the Board lacked the authority to address. Specifically, by cancelling valuable, decades-old registrations, the Board improperly penalized the Washington Redskins based on the content of the team's speech in violation of the First Amendment. The complaint also alleges that the team has been unfairly deprived of its valuable and long-held intellectual property rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

“The Washington Redskins look forward to all of the issues in the case being heard in federal court under the federal rules of evidence. The team is optimistic that the court will correctly and carefully evaluate the proofs, listen to the arguments, and confirm the validity of the Washington Redskins' federal trademark registrations, just as another federal court has already found in a virtually identical case,” Raskopf said.

While the case is in federal court, the Washington Redskins' federal trademark registrations remain in full force and effect. As always, the Washington Redskins has the right to use its marks and to enforce them against infringers and counterfeiters.


Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices