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Policy: Law

Redskins defy trademark ruling, say they'll defend name

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,NFL,Redskins,Sean Higgins,Native Americans,Law,Patent Law

In a defiant statement issued Wednesday, the Washington Redskins said the team would appeal the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's decision to revoke the trademark to the team's name and logo on the grounds that they are offensive to Native Americans.

The professional football team added that in the meantime, the ruling would have "no effect at all" on its trademark rights while the case is on appeal. The press release even put that in boldface and underlined it.

"We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s divided ruling will be overturned on appeal. This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins’ trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board," said Redskins lawyer Bob Raskopf.

The statement made a point of noting that the team had beaten back earlier attempts to get the trademark revoked in 1999 and 2003, even highlighting Washington Post headlines from those years prematurely announcing the trademark was lost.

Native American activists have long charged that the team's name is an ethnic slur. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has rejected that argument and repeatedly refused to change the name.

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