U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Rejects “Redskins” as Part of Product Name
By Ken Reed
In a move that could spell trouble for Dan Snyder in his quest to continue using the nickname “Redskins” for his NFL franchise, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected the name “Redskins Hog Rinds” for a new pork rinds product. In a letter, the agency rejected the product name because it contained a “derogatory slang term.”
The USPTO heard a lawsuit brought by a group of American Indians in March in an effort to get Snyder’s federal trademark registration revoked for the “Redskins” nickname. A decision by the agency is pending and could come at any time.
The letter from the federal agency noted that the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Indian Nation, among other American Indian groups, finds the term “redskin” offensive.
“The USPTO ruling sends a powerful message to Washington team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL that in the name of basic decency and respect they should immediately stop spending millions of dollars to promote the R-word,” said Ray Halbritter, an Oneida Indian Nation representative.
If the USPTO rules against Snyder, he could still use the name but would lose protection against others using the mark. So, in effect, the Washington Redskins name would likely be dead as Snyder and the NFL surely wouldn’t want anyone being able to freely sell jerseys, novelty items, shirts, pennants, etc., with the team’s mark on them.
The USPTO has a chance to do the right thing in the face of the NFL behemoth.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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