Redskins Appeal PTO Rejection of Controversial Name's Trademark

Flickr user keithallison

On Thursday, the Washington Redskins appealed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's June 18 ruling that stripped the team of six federal trademark registrations on the grounds that the name was offensive to Native Americans.

The team released a statement, which was shared by Comcast Sportsnet in D.C.

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."

The Redskins will retain their trademark as the case moves through the courts. Meanwhile, the team has been digging in despite increased criticism from many members of Congress, perhaps most vocally from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who recently declined an invitation to attend a Redskins home game.

In May, 50 U.S. Senators, including Reid, penned a letter to N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell asking that he officially call on the team to change their name.

“The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” the letter said. 

Team owner Daniel Snyder has maintained the name is not offensive. "It's just historical truths, and I'd like [Native Americans] to understand, as I think most do, that the name really means honor, respect," he told E.S.P.N.'s John Barr on August 6. "A Redskin is a football player. A Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride," he said. 

In 1999, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a similar ruling against the Redskins, which was later overturned in 2003 on appeal in Harjo v. Pro Football Inc

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

(Image via Flickr user keithallison)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.