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Gresh & Zolak

Trademark Board Rules Against Redskins Name

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Washington Redskins helmet (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Washington Redskins helmet (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP/CBS) — The U.S. Patent Office ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is “disparaging of Native Americans” and that the team’s federal trademarks for the name must be canceled.

The 2-1 ruling comes after a campaign to change the name has gained momentum over the past year. The team doesn’t immediately lose trademark protection and is allowed to retain it during an appeal.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the team’s name, citing tradition, but there has been growing pressure including statements in recent months from President Barack Obama, lawmakers of both parties and civil rights groups.

The decision means that the team can continue to use the Redskins name, but it would lose a significant portion of its ability to protect its financial interests. If others printed the name on sweatshirts, apparel, or other team material, it becomes more difficult to go after people who use it without permission.

The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is similar to one it issued in 1999. That ruling was overturned in 2003 in large part on a technicality after the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old and should have filed their complaint soon after the Redskins registered their nickname in 1967.

The new case was launched in 2006 by a younger group of Native Americans, and was heard by the board in March of last year.

The group argued that the Redskins should lose their federal trademark protection based on a law that prohibits registered names that are disparaging, scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.

Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak discussed the news as it broke on air Wednesday morning:

End Of The Redskins? Now What?

Gresh & Zolak

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jeff Brown speaks with race relations expert Professor Charles Ross from the University of Mississippi:

Race Relations Expert On Redskins Controversy

WBZ NewsRadio 1030

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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