Redskins Vow To Appeal Decision Canceling Trademark Registration

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jul 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-30 17:14:39-04

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - The Washington Redskins say they will appeal a decision from a federal judge, who has ordered the cancellation of the team's trademark registration. The judge ruled that the team name may be disparaging to Native Americans.

The ruling doesn't keep the team from using the Redskins name. And it could even sue for trademark infringements. But winning a lawsuit could be harder, without the legal protections that come with a federally-registered trademark.

Redskins President Bruce Allen says the team will appeal. He says "the facts and the law" are on the side of the team, which he says has "proudly used the name Redskins for more than 80 years."

A group of Native American activists first challenged the trademark registration in 1992, and administrative boards have ruled against the team before. But this is the first time that a federal judge ruled against the team and found that the name may be disparaging.

In rejecting the team's free-speech argument, the judge cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month allowing the state of Texas to bar depiction of the Confederate battle flag on specialty license plates.

A lawyer for the Native Americans who challenged the team's name, says the ruling is an across-the-board victory for his clients and that he is confident it will be upheld on appeal.

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)