At least 12 trademarks with the word “Redskin” or “Redskins” have been denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office thus far, but there’s one that’s status is still pending: the Washington (NFL) Redskins.
On Monday, however, the twelfth one, “Washington Redskins Potatoes” was not given protection because it contained the derogatory and dictionary defined slur “Redskins.”
In its decision, the agency said, “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols. Given that ‘REDSKIN’ in the mark is a derogatory slang term that refers to, and is considered offensive by, American Indians, registration of the applied-for mark must be refused.”
In January, ICTMN reported that the agency rejected an application for “Redskins Hog Rinds,” and listed five separate definitions to explain how offensive the word is.
The Oneida Indian Nation, which started the grassroots Change the Mascot campaign said that the decision sends the right message, but there is still work to be done.
“Once again, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is making clear what should be obvious to everyone with a conscience – that “Redskins” is not a term which anyone with common decency would use to address a Native American. Despite the team’s claim that the mascot is a term of honor, the reality is that it is a dictionary-defined slur that insults and denigrates Native Americans. The R-word has no place in modern society,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter in a news release.
“It is heartening to see this latest step in the right direction, and we hope that the Washington NFL team will heed the clear calls for change and place itself on the right side of history by changing the team’s disparaging name,” Halbritter said.
The Washington Post said that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office will soon determine whether the Washington NFL team will retain trademark status. Currently, a lawsuit against protecting the team’s name is pending before its trial and appeal board.
The Change the Mascot campaign ran nationwide radio ads demanding that the team change the name during the 2013 NFL season. The campaign plans to continue its efforts into the offseason and 2014 NFL season.