June 18, 2014

Tester Applauds Decision by US Patent Office to Cancel DC Team Name’s Trademark

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester (D- Mont.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, issued the following statement after the U.S. Patent Office issued a decision to cancel the trademark of the name of the Washington D.C. football team:
“This decision is a step forward for Indian Country and for all Americans who champion tolerance.  No team or organization should profit from a dictionary-defined racial slur.”   
According to a Patent and Trademark office statement, “The decision does not, however, require the trademarks in the involved registrations to be changed or no longer be used by Washington, D.C.’s pro football team. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board does not have jurisdiction in a cancellation proceeding to require that a party cease use of a mark, but only to determine whether a mark may continue to be registered.  This decision can be reviewed by a federal court. The registrations will not appear in the USPTO’s records as cancelled until after any judicial review is completed.”
The case of Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. was decided today in favor of the plaintiff.  The case was filed in 2006 by Amanda Blackhorse, a member of the Navajo Nation.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an independent administrative tribunal within the USPTO, decided the case.
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