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U.S. Patent Calls Washington Redskins’ Trademarks Offensive

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 18, 2014

In a sign of yet more governmental overreach, the US Patent Office (USPO) has canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademarks.  While a trademark cancellation in itself is not unusual, the reason given by the Patent Office is outrageous.  In making the ruling, the Patent Office’s three-judge panel stated:

“[W]e decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered.”

The ruling is dangerous at various levels.  First, it changes the value of a franchise that was built over decades.  Second, the reason behind the ruling is impossible to objectively define going forward.  As society and/or judges change, businesses can no longer have confidence that the money they spend on building a brand will not be overturned for some arbitrary reason.

Finally, the US government accepted the Redskins’ trademark registrations for decades.  For it to now rule that “…. they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered” must therefore by implication also make the Patent Office (government) itself culpable in allowing disparaging/racist logo registrations to exist.

The fabric of American society is being ripped apart by a Progressive government and a bureaucracy that is dividing us into ever smaller and numerous subsets.  The result is a lack of cohesion within society that is killing the American dream and its promise of being a melting pot for diverse cultures.


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