I Really Like Calling Them “The Football Team From Washington” 

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

As you may have seen, the football team from Washington, D.C. has had their team name’s trademark struck down.

The ruling does not mean that the Redskins have to change the name of the team. It does affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandising because it limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name on T shirts, sweatshirts, beer glasses and license plate holders.

In short, while the team can continue to use the name, it will not enjoy any trademark protection. You are now free to create bootleg materials for the team from Washington, and the Internet is having fun with that idea. However, it’s worth understanding the whole story.

In addition, Native Americans have won at this stage before, in 1999. But the team and the NFL won an appeal to federal court in 2009. The court did not rule on the merits of the case, however, but threw it out, saying that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing to file it. The team is likely to make the same appeal this time.

To summarize, the team from Washington has actually been here before, and they’ve been successful in getting their trademark restored. Only time will tell how this ultimately plays out. The ownership of the team from Washington has thus far been resistant to any change.

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