Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Federal Agency: The Term "Redskins" is a "Derogatory Slang"

A company applying for a trademark to name their product "Redskins Hog Rinds" has been turned down by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Why? Because the federal agency considers the term to be offensive and derogatory:

 There will be no trademark for "Redskins Hog Rinds," a bad omen for the Washington Redskins in the legal battle over their name.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a request from a company to sell pork rinds using the word "Redskins" because it deemed the term to be "derogatory slang."

In a letter dated Dec. 29, the agency wrote: "Registration is refused because the applied-for mark REDSKINS HOG RINDS consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols."

The same agency is deliberating whether to revoke the trademark protection for the NFL team, part of a long-running challenge from a group of Native Americans. A hearing was held in March, and a decision is expected soon.

The Washington Post explains what might happen if the USPTO rules against the professional football team:

 If the board rules against the Washington Redskins, the team wouldn't be forced to change its name but would lose its registered trademark status, which helps protect it from individuals looking to sell merchandise with the word on it.
In other words, anyone could put the word "Redskins" on a product, distribute it, and make money at the team's expense. That would undoubtedly affect the organization's bottom line. And given the Redskin's less-than-impressive season last year, that's probably the last thing they want to let happen.



Anonymous said...

Freedom of speech and expression is just a jingo BS line when it comes to equal protection under the law in the United States. You can name anything you like, as long as you name it something we approve of.. yeah.. freedom.. whatever.

Anonymous said...

I guess the people selling redskin potatoes are in big trouble.

Brian from Virgina said...

The only time a trademark should be refused is when it has been already registered beforehand.

Anonymous said...

In other words, anyone could put the word "Redskins" on a product, distribute it, and make money at the team's expense.

Does that means that Redskins Hog Rinds could proceed ?

Anonymous said...

So does this mean the blacks have to stop calling southerners "rednecks?"

Somehow I doubt it!

Anonymous said...

"Political correctness is a far greater threat to our freedom and liberty than is terrorism..." -- Spider

Anonymous said...

Does that means that Redskins Hog Rinds could proceed ?


The name could proceed as long as it does not give the impression that it is associated with the Washington Redskins football team.

So the pork rind could nut use the same font, logos, or maybe even colors as the football team.

But the word "Redskins" is not protected in all cases.

Anonymous said...

The company can use the name Redskins Hog Rinds already - they just can't currently patent the name.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - I meant 'trademark' the name.