Redskins Could Be Seriously Affected by Trademark Decision … or Not

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The U.S. Patent Office has ruled the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans." (Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In the wake of the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark registration of the Washington Redskins, it’s unclear how significantly the NFL franchise will be affected.

The Patent Office said it canceled the registration because the nickname Redskins is “disparaging to Native Americans.”

“We don’t think trademark litigation will be what persuades this team to change this name,” Jesse Witten, lead attorney in the case against the team, told The Times’ Evan Halper. “It will be the view of broader society that the name needs to change. … But this is an important decision by the U.S. government that it should play no part in promoting this team’s ethnic slur.”

The Redskins have announced that they will appeal the ruling. They will still have trademark protection while that process plays out.

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