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Trademark Cancellation for “Redskins” Sought

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header-hp-l.jpg According to a news story reported by MSNBC, A joint petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent & Trademark Office will be filed by six American Indian youths from across the country for the cancellation of the Washington Redskins football organization (Pro-Football, Inc.) trademark, “Redskins.”

Another group of prominent American Indian leaders filed a similar petition in 1991 which is still pending. Both petitions call for the cancellation of the federal government’s registration of the Washington “Redskins” trademark on the grounds that its use is disparaging to American Indians. Cited in the petitions are extensive evidence regarding the history of usage of the term “Redskin” and public perception relating to its meaning.

The original petitioners were barred by laches, a legal doctrine appied when a court decides that a party has taken too long to assert a right or claim and that the passage of time is deemed prejudicial to an adverse party. This delay is looked at from the time the petitioners are roughly 18 years old. Because of the age of the original petitioners, the United States District Court of the District of Columbia determined that too much time had passed before they filed suit.

However, the six new petitioners range from age 18-24 so laches should not be an issue.

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