July 08, 2015

Federal Judge Orders Cancellation of Redskins Trademarks: A federal judge in Northern Virginia on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of the Washington Redskins' federal trademark registrations, which have been opposed for decades by many Native Americans who feel the moniker disparages their race. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee's decision affirmed an earlier ruling by the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which last year voted 2-to-1 that the team's moniker is offensive to Native Americans and therefore ineligible under the Lanham Act for registered trademark status.

posted by rcade to football at 10:38 AM - 14 comments

I'm concerned that the team will keep all the branding imagery, etc., and just do a name change to Warriors or something similar. Even though Snyder has long said never ever to changing the name.

posted by beaverboard at 11:07 AM on July 08

The sports talk shows must be salivating over this ruling.

Now they can debate about:

- is it a racist term
- is it a correct legal judgement
- will the franchise change its name
- to what will they change their name
- what about all these other team names/logos

posted by grum@work at 11:32 AM on July 08

They can go ahead and keep the name if they want, but that means ANYONE can create t-shirts/hats with the name on them and avoid legal repercussions.

I'm pretty sure the NFL wants to keep the lucrative merchandising money to themselves, so they'll lean on Washington to change it. Think of all the new stuff they can sell with the new name!

posted by grum@work at 11:33 AM on July 08

If they did this ...

... they could keep the brand imagery.

posted by rcade at 12:07 PM on July 08

They can go ahead and keep the name if they want, but that means ANYONE can create t-shirts/hats with the name on them and avoid legal repercussions.

I'm pretty sure the NFL wants to keep the lucrative merchandising money to themselves, so they'll lean on Washington to change it.

I would find it hard to imagine any of the big sporting-goods concerns tromping all over the newly non-trademarked name: A) they'd rather not piss off the NFL, and 2) do you really want to be the people selling a lot of Redskins apparel?

Think of all the new stuff they can sell with the new name!

This is why Dan Snyder is the dumbest rich guy in America (yes, even more so than Trump) -- he would make a fucking mint off all the new stuff, but somehow he's tied up his ego into a name that's 25 years older than he is and 66 years older than his ownership of the team.

posted by Etrigan at 12:25 PM on July 08

I would find it hard to imagine any of the big sporting-goods concerns tromping all over the newly non-trademarked name: A) they'd rather not piss off the NFL, and 2) do you really want to be the people selling a lot of Redskins apparel?

I'm thinking of the bootleg sellers outside the stadium and online.

posted by grum@work at 12:31 PM on July 08

Why not:

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:47 PM on July 08

I thought this happened last year.

posted by NoMich at 12:49 PM on July 08

NoMich, I believe this is a continuation of that ruling. And this isn't the final appeal for the Washington sports team, either.

posted by ursus_comiter at 12:57 PM on July 08

It is interesting to think that black-market merchandise sales are now incontestable by the team. The ruling actually has no effect on the team's ongoing business, just the ability to defend the valuable product pipeline associated with it.

We won't see a big shift away from existing contracts, but we may see an upstart without NFL licensing rights start to flood the market with unofficial-but-it-doesn't-matter Redskins goods, and when the team sends a C&D, _(ツ)_/ . It starts small but could cost the team millions of dollars over time. The question is whether it convinces Daniel Snyder to update his team identity to one he can legally protect.

posted by werty at 01:51 PM on July 08

No idea what happened to my _(ツ)_/ there. _(ツ)_/

posted by werty at 01:51 PM on July 08

You need three of them\

posted by grum@work at 01:59 PM on July 08

The question is whether it convinces Daniel Snyder to update his team identity to one he can legally protect.

This stopped being a business-oriented decision a long while ago. I also question the actual impact of this.

My sense is - the market already has a bunch of black market stuff in it for all teams, and (assuming) the majority of NFL gear is sold through authorized dealers, at stadiums, and on websites that sell for all 30 teams - it's unlikely to make a huge dent in their bottom line unless those three sell the unauthorized stuff. Stocking unofficial gear for one team when the other 31 are sourced from a handful or less of official suppliers seems silly.

Perhaps the number of dealers in the blocks around the stadium and on Ebay go up, but unofficial jerseys are pretty easy to source today for all teams that way and official merch still sells.

posted by dfleming at 03:42 PM on July 08

I would find it hard to imagine any of the big sporting-goods concerns tromping all over the newly non-trademarked name ...

True, but there are thousands of flea markets in the U.S. and other places that can sell them and couldn't be pressured by the NFL. There's also Internet merchants. If the name loses its registered mark, I expect there will also be lots of use from people who hate the name.

posted by rcade at 07:26 PM on July 08

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.