In what might be the biggest move to get the Washington Redskins to change their name, the U.S. Patent Office has canceled the team’s trademarks. They say the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.”
The decision was made Wednesday (June 18) in a 2-1 ruling by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, ESPN reports. The case was brought before the board by a group of Native Americans, speaking on behalf of four tribes.
The ruling states, “Petitioners have found a preponderance of evidence that a substantial amount of Native Americans found the term Redskins to be disparaging when used in connection with professional football. While this may reveal differing opinions with the community, it does not negate the opinions of those who find it disparaging.”
While the ruling does not force the team’s name to be changed, it does open the door for anyone to produce Redskins merchandise. Considering how important merchandising is to the National Football League, this is a big move. Team owner Daniel Snyder and the NFL can still appeal the decision, which Redskins trademark attorney Bob Raskopf says they will do.