US Patent Office cancels Redskins trademark


#1

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#2

This is a disgusting racist name for a sports team, but does this mean anything the royal we ddoesnt like looses trademark protection?
I always worry when those we can all agree don’t deserve protection loose their protection.
Veering way off topic, too often trademark has just become another hammer that big business can use to crush upstarts.
(edit)
Turns out current trademark law prohibits registered names that are disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.


#3

Wow. “Redskinettes” - and I thought they couldn’t get any more offensive.

Good on the USPTO for this move. If it sticks, it will seriously undercut the financial strength of the team and it will put significant league pressure on them to change their name. And until that all plays out, we have all that cheap knock-off racist swag to look forward to…


#4

Invalid trademarks

The trick is that the trademarks were registered no earlier than 1967 and by the standards of 1967, “Redskin” was a slur.


#5

It didn’t in 1992. Hopefully this time it will.

I cannot believe there’s even a debate about this.


#6

Lose mate, LOSE


#7

But there wouldn’t be any question if a sports team tried to trademark other extremely racist terms. They’d simply be told, “No, that’s not a valid trademark.”

That’s really the entire point. I’m sure at least one racist term that would never be allowed will leap to mind if you think for a moment, and unless you’ve lead a sheltered life, many more will follow. But the royal we - in far too great proportion - says, “Well ‘Redskins’ is different.” It isn’t different.


#8

Wow this is a really complicated issue. They use native imagery respectfully. The team didn’t pick its name to be disparaging, yet most dictionaries currently define it so. They certainly chose the name to invoke Indian bravery and toughness, a positive stereotype.

Many other sports teams used to have the same name. Most when changing it have lost the American Indian reference, notable exception: the Utah Utes named after a tribe.

Is it appropriate homage to name a team after an ethnic group, even if it is not inherently disparaging (i.e. ‘savages’)? Is it only acceptable once they’re extinct such as the spartans and vikings? Yet other teams exist: bethany swedes, New Zealand Māori, canadiens, americans, canucks. Clearly there are no hard and fast rules.

It’s the referenced minority’s choice, not ours. If a majority of them find something disparaging, then we should abide by their wishes - not make their choices for them.

I would hate to lose a positive American Indian reference, but it can certainly be improved. I wonder how our Indians would respond to a chance to name this sports team. That would definitely honor them.


#9

It kind of is.

And though Redskins critics are reluctant to admit it, the name is a subtle case. It is not an open-and-shut outrage like the still-used nickname “Savages.” The word redskin has a relatively innocent history. As Smithsonian linguist Ives Goddard has shown, European settlers in the 18th century seem to have adopted the term from Native Americans, who used “red skin” to describe themselves, and it was generally a descriptor, not an insult. Over time, it became a more ambiguous, and less benign term, sometimes used as a slur. When Washington owner George Preston Marshall—who was admittedly a racist, refusing to integrate his team until 1962—chose the name in the 1930s, he was almost certainly trying to invoke Indian bravery and toughness, not to impugn Indians.

Please check my last post as well. The more I read on wiki the more I understood.


#10

I’m not sure what all the musing is about. It is the very people the name is referring to who are saying it is offensive. If the point is to “honor” them then ignoring what they actually want for themselves seems to be a weird way of doing it.


#11

Yes, so as you quoted me, give them the option to name the team. Doesn’t feel like you read what you quoted.

Sort of. Be wary of confusing political organizations with people.


#12

Yup, totally highlighted the wrong paragraph there.

Seriously, I don’t get what the point of the defense of the team name is. Sure, the guy who thought it up meant it in a good way all that time ago. But “noble savage” was meant to be a positive thing too, and the term is obviously offensive now. I’m sure there were some slave owners who occasionally mused that their slaves had better work ethic than the impoverished white people they sometimes hired, but the words they used would probably seem pretty offensive today.

If someone says, “That terms is an insult to me and others who share my heritage” and your response stars with, “Well, back in 1813…” then you are surely missing the point.

And be wary of discounting political organizations merely because they are political.


#13

Issue simplified! Drop the fucking name.


#14

In a country where sports teams are franchises and move cities and change names all the time, where new teams are created out of nowhere as expansion sides, if your best defence is an appeal to tradition, your argument is completely worthless.

Change the damn name.


#15

Related: do Native American folks find the term “Indian” offensive now? My understanding is that it’s not in common usage among most people. If so, would the Cleveland Indians similarly be at risk of losing their trademarks?

And looking at the previous case where this was overturned… It is very bizarre to see that part of the reasoning for it being overturned on appeal was laches, a term I had never heard before.


#16

You’re saying it is a positive reference? Once upon a time, in certain contexts, it may have been interpreted positively by a wide segment of the population, but that is no longer the case.

It is true that the historical meaning of the name is relevant for legal purposes, however. But the frame of reference is not whether the name was positive in the 1930s when it was chose, but whether it was positive in 1967, when it was patented.

Canadiens, Americans, and Canucks are not ethnic references. There is no team named after the Maori, so far as I know, though there is a team called the Maori because all players must have Maori ancestry. As for the Swedes, are there any reports that Swedish people (or anyone else) finds this name and the associated costumes and/or imagery to be offensive?


#17

“Indian” is gradually falling out of favor, but by far the most offensive part of Cleveland’s team is Chief Wahoo. Somehow that mascot managed to get even more offensive over the decades.


#18

It sure feels like the word “Indian” should be offensive. In Canada is a correct legal term, and I think it is in some contexts in the US as well. But wow, we realized that this was India quite a while ago now.


#19

I think this is hilarious. In it’s political correct zeal, the white house (and there is no doubt this is where the order to pull the trademarks came from) has allowed ANYONE that sees fit to use the name Redskins for whatever they want. It’s free now! USE IT ALL YOU WANT…I can only laugh at the idiocy.


#20

Emphasis mine.

Just look at it.