NFL’s Redskins Compile List of Offensive Trademarks to Justify its Offensive Trademark

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder. Credit--Associated Press

Midget-Man … Party With Sluts … Redneck Army … are just some of the registered trademarks cited by the Washington Redskins in the team’s attempts to stop the cancelling of its controversial trademark.

The NFL franchise has been fighting a losing battle over the past two years with federal officials, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which cancelled the team’s trademark use of Redskins on grounds that it disparaged Native Americans.

In its appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the team cited numerous other trademarks that have not been cancelled despite their own provocative, if not offensive nature. The list includes Take Yo Panties Off clothing; Dangerous Negro shirts . . . Midget-Man condoms and inflatable sex dolls; Party With Sluts clothing; Redneck Army apparel; Booty Call sex aids; and Dumb Blonde hair products.

The team’s attorneys, led by Lisa Blatt and Robert Raskopf, wrote: “A ban on registering ‘disparaging’ trademarks unconstitutionally burdens speech based on content and viewpoint, just as would a ban on registering copyrights for ‘disparaging’ books.”

The franchise also claimed in a statement that “since 1870, over three million trademarks have been registered, and we have found none that have ever been cancelled for being disparaging. We believe that the government’s action tramples core principles of free speech and sets a dangerous precedent for other brands.”

The team originally lost its trademark in 2014 when a group of Native Americans got a ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which ruled 2 to 1 that the name offends a substantial number of Native Americans and is thus ineligible for federal trademark registration. A federal district judge earlier this year upheld the ruling.

The team’s owner, Dan Snyder, has vowed never to change the name and claims that many Native Americans like it.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

‘Take Yo Panties Off’ Defense: Redskins Cite Other Protected Products in Trademark Appeal (by Ian Shapira, Washington Post)

Washington Cites Long List of Other Offensive Trademarks to Defends Its Offensive Trademark (by Lindsay Gibbs, ThinkProgress)

John Oliver Rips ‘Racist’ Redskins Owner Dan Snyder over NFL Team Name and Bogus Defense (by Marlow Stern, Daily Beast)

California First State to Ban “Redskins” as School Team Name or Mascot (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Federal Judge Affirms Cancellation of Washington Redskins Trademark as Offensive (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

U.S. Patent Office Cancels Redskins Trademark as Disparaging, Fueling Opposition to Team Name (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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