USPTO Cancels Trademark Registration For Washington Redskins

from the finally dept

Given that I've been quite vocal about my interest in the Washington NFL team changing its name from the disparaging "Redskins" moniker to something more civil, you might think that I'm doing some kind of happy dance in my office now that the USPTO has rescinded the trademark registration for the team (something I had predicted, along with others, a while back). Look, I won't pretend like any steps moving us closer to a world where that team's name is changed don't make me happy, but I do take the counterpoints seriously. I don't particularly care for a world where speech deemed "offensive" can't be uttered, nor do I generally like when the government sticks its nose in most things. I understand that completely -- I just think there are some serious arguments for ensuring the government doesn't grant exclusive rights to organizations on the backs of horribly racist terms. So when the USPTO says they're removing the registration because the term is disparaging and they don't want to grant rights for the team to seek trademark damages to that kind of language in all of our names, I happen to think that make sense.

“We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the board wrote in its opinion, which is here.
Again, if you think this is yet another example of government's intrusion on free enterprise, I get where you're coming from. After all, damn it, we wouldn't need to have come to this point if the citizens of D.C. had risen up and refused to go to games until the name was changed. That would have been a far preferable solution. That said, the provision in trademark law forbidding marks of a racial nature is fairly clear and I think there's fairly good reason for that language. As plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse said:
“I am extremely happy that the [Board] ruled in our favor,” Blackhorse said in a statement. “It is a great victory for Native Americans and for all Americans. We filed our petition eight years ago and it has been a tough battle ever since. I hope this ruling brings us a step closer to that inevitable day when the name of the Washington football team will be changed. The team’s name is racist and derogatory. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – if people wouldn’t dare call a Native American a ‘redskin’ because they know it is offensive, how can an NFL football team have this name?”
This ruling isn't only in the name of being politically correct to Native Americans, it's about a government office that purports to represent all of us granting exclusive rights based on language that an overwhelming majority of outlets define as racist. The public can and does have an interest in how government represents us and granting trademark to that kind of term just isn't okay.

Now, before anyone gets their First Amendment panties in a twist here, the team doesn't lose the right to use the name and even keeps its registered mark during the appeals process, which has already begun.
The team will almost certainly appeal the case, and it will be able to keep its trademark protection during appeal. Losing the trademark would not force the team to change its name, but it would allow anyone who wanted to use “Redskins” on merchandise or through other means to do so, which could cost the team — and, because of the NFL’s revenue-sharing model, other NFL teams — “every imaginable loss you can think of,” as the team’s lawyers argued in the original case. For that reason, the trademark has long been thought of by opponents of the team’s name as the easiest avenue to changing it.
If Dan Snyder, a man who has filed lawsuits claiming anti-semitism, wants to stick to his racist guns and keep the team name, he can. He just doesn't get the ability to seek damages that a registered mark affords him. Speech is actually opened up by this ruling, not infringed upon. In other words, for those of you that think the team name is awesome and/or the USPTO shouldn't be getting involved in this, all is not lost. The racist term you wish to protect can still be used by the team if it wishes, it's just that those of us who think the government shouldn't be sanctioning that kind of thing are finally being represented.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:12pm

    Why is there no similar outrage about the Atlanta Braves or, especially, the Cleveland Indians given the latter's comical Native American logo?

     

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      michael, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      Because neither of those names are considered disparaging.

      This really isn't that hard to understand is it?

       

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        Anon, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:54pm

        This I don't Understand

        Actually, I did not see Redskins are a disparaging name, and I've been surprised that it's been painted (sorry) as such over the last few years. but, we are talking about a movement that has called "Fighting Sioux" racist. (A descriptive term). There's also the Atlanta Braves, clearly like fighting Sioux and Redskins a reference to a past behaviour of native Americans where they fought - bravely and fiercely - to defend their lands.

        And, as the other comment says, what about the Cleveland Indians, or the Chicago Blackhawks? How come offensive "language" is unacceptable but logos are not?

        The other problem, is that then we slide down the slippery slope to censorship. Will the government get to decide on its own what is offensive? How will they know, for example, if "Nip" refers to an Oriental persuasion or a small bite of food? Does a valid trademark suddenly become invalid if applied to the wrong image? Will RCA lose its trademark if Japanese groups complain?

        I live close to an area that has Indians, an I've heard plenty of derogatory terms for Indians - Boguns, wagonburners, Hiawathas, bush bunnies, etc. I don't recall hearing redskins as an insult. It seems to me to be in the same camp as the grousp that claim (incorrectly) that squaw means cunt. (It doesn't, but squaw IS a serious insult nowadays, in the same way that calling an Indian male or black male a "buck" is derogatory, only worse.)

        Plus, I have objections that the government deciding retroactively what the mores of 50 years ago or more were according to their current politically correct view of the world. The fact that a decent number of people do not feel it is an insult and do not feel it should be changed says something about the real-world perception of the word.

        Mark Twain - "how many legs does a dog have if I call the tail a leg?"
        Second Banana - "Five?"
        MT - "no, four. Just because I call a tail a leg does not make it one."
        Just because some groups think a word is an insult, does not make it so.

        There's the case of a flight attendant who use the cutesy rhyme "enie, meenie, miney, mo, pick a seat so we can go..." Some black lady got all upset and filed a racism complaint. The flight attendant, like many younger people, grew up never knowing there was an alternative, racist version of what she was saying.

        If the Redskins want to change, they will when people stop buying their merchandise and attending their games.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:04pm

          Re: This I don't Understand

          You're an idiot. Two simple points:

          1. Just because you don't find the term disparaging, doesn't mean it isn't generally considered disparaging.

          2. Cancelling a trademark is in no way a slippery slope to censorship.

          Now shut up.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:26am

          Re: This I don't Understand

          There is a difference between something factual, such as the number of legs a dog has, and something subjective, such as whether or not something is considered racist, disparaging, insulting, etc.

          Redskins is racist. That is a subjective statement based on each person's views. Many people for a long time have considered the term racist and disparaging. It's just more recently that this group has become loud enough to force the racists' hand on the issue.

          Just because something has been historically "okay" does NOT in fact make it okay.

          Washington should just change their name to the Washington "Wetbacks".

          That's not racist or disparaging at all /s.

           

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          LAB (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:03am

          Re: This I don't Understand

          "I live close to an area that has Indians, an I've heard plenty of derogatory terms for Indians"

          Wow, you don't even get it. They call themselves Native Americans. Do you even know where the term indians comes from? A white guy thought he had reached India and called them that and other white people continued to do so.......so sad. I wonder if you would say something racist and proclaim because you didn't know it was ok to contiue using the term....oh wait you did.......

           

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        btr1701 (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Using the same logic the USPTO applied in the Redskins case, the NAACP and United Negro College Fund should be forced to give up their trademarks as well.

        And while not trademarked per se, I assume the State of Oklahoma will now be considering renaming itself. After all, Oklahoma means "Red Man" in Choctaw...

        Then there's FAG, a mark for "lubricating oils and greases." Yep. The mark is registered and is not pending cancelation. This is not offensive according to the USPTO.

        Stinky Gringo is the valid trademark for a type of premixed alcoholic cocktail.

        And one more direclty analogous to the Redskins: RedMan is a mark registered for chewing tobacco, complete with Indian logo. It is a national brand, and the mark, far from being canceled, has been renewed without a hitch.

        And then there's registered marks "NewsWhore", "Bitches Bash", "Creepy-Ass Cracka", and "Suck It", all of which enjoy good standing at the USPTO. But Redskins? No, that's offensive and has to go. Why? Because Barack Obama and Harry Reid (and Tim Geigner) say so.

         

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          S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I didn't know Obama, Reid, and Geigner personally approved or denied every trademark ever.

           

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            btr1701 (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 7:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > I didn't know Obama, Reid, and Geigner personally approved
            > or denied every trademark ever.

            When you run the USPTO and the president and the Senate Majority Leader make it clear how they feel about a trademark, that's what we call a clue as to what you should do if you want to keep your job.

             

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              LAB (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              My my. I thought this was an issue about Native Americans apparently it's about "Murica!"

               

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                btr1701 (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 12:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                > I thought this was an issue about Native Americans
                > apparently it's about "Murica!"

                With a comment like that, it's apparent you aren't doing much actual thinking at all.

                 

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        art guerrilla (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 5:46am

        Re: Re:

        why, YES it fucking is...
        WHO is it who 'decides' what words are 'bad' and 'disparaging', and which are acceptable ? ? ?
        you ? ? ?
        i don't think so...
        the courts ? *snort* that's a fucking joke...

        point the two: there is no such thing as 'race', it is a man-made construct to 'otherize' others... that people THEN take up their 'race' (which doesn't exist) as some sort of badge of honor, is silly: we are all the same dog, dog...

        third point: from what i have read -as another poster says more politely than i- 'redskins' is NOT held as a derogatory term by all indians; oh noes, what to do ? ? ?
        a vote ? the loudest most obnoxious about it 'wins' ? the one with the most indian 'blood' ? or the indians who WERE'NT paid off to allow the indian names usage ?
        (see: indians, seminoles, FS*ptui*U)

        further, is it only indians who are allowed to determine what is/isn't 'offensive' to them ? ? ? does that go for me, too ?

        lastly, so what ? ? ?
        i am 'offended' by the portrayal of nearly EVERYONE on teevee, doesn't that mean they have to stop so my delicate sensibilities are not sullied ? ? ?
        no, why not ? same 'reasoning'...
        (see: slope, slippery)

        again: you have the right to NOT be assaulted, you do NOT have the right to NOT be insulted...
        that way lies madness...

         

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        Sketch, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:43am

        Re: Re:

        SO the N-word isn't racist when used by black folks? i don't see the same manufactured outcry pointed at Jay-Z or T-Pain or Ice-Everyone...

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Seems ok - what's wrong with that?

          Sort of like, it's ok for a woman to call some other woman a bitch.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 7:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So if I call myself 'whitey' am I supposed to be offending myself? Can I sue myself for emotional distress? Am I supposed to sue myself and if I don't then I'm proving that I'm racist against myself?

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      1. To some extent, there is. But:

      2. "braves" and "indians" are not racist slurs like "redskins" is. Think of it as the difference between calling someone "caucasian" and "whitey". Or "chinese" and "chink". Or "italian" and "wop".

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Speaking of "chink" the craziest mascot I know of was the Pekin high school "Chinks" complete with male and female mascots with stereotypical asian looks, Chinese clothes and "coolie" hats.

         

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        Internet Zen Master (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:38pm

        Re: Re:

        I wouldn't go that far. Does it have the potential to be used as a slur? Depends on the intent, imo. Although last I checked, the team name was never intended as such.

        Frankly I'm with AC on asking why they're so obsessed with the Washington Redskins' name of all things and not going after the Braves/Indians instead, since the mascots of those two teams are clearly comical caricatures of Native Americans and could be interpreted as the equivalent of the racist depictions of Asians in early comics/cartoons (think 1940s for reference).

        It'll be interesting to see how this goes in court.

         

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        art guerrilla (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 5:55am

        Re: Re:

        who says they aren't ?
        you ?
        so what does YOUR opinion mean ?
        are YOU the leader of the remaining indians ?
        no, you are not, so you don't get a say, do you ?
        but you ARE ASSERTING this word *is* a slur, and *that* word is not: NOT YOUR PLACE under this scenario...
        YOU are speaking for the indians (or whichever cohort is offended today), aren't you ?
        as i recall, there has been exactly ONE person posting here with indian heritage who averred that 'redskins' was NOT a slur among them; WHO ARE YOU TO SAY OTHERWISE ?

        i don't KNOW what is/isn't a slur to indians in that regard, and DON'T REALLY CARE, because my NUMBER ONE PRIORITY is 'free speech', PERIOD...
        IF YOU DON'T INCLUDE THE 'RIGHT' OF PEOPLE TO BE OFFENSIVE IN THE EXERCISE OF THEIR FREE SPEECH, THEN YOU ARE NOT FOR FREE SPEECH...
        simply admit it: you are FOR CENSORSHIP because it is convenient for you to look like some cultural hero about this issue, rather than do the hard work of defending bedrock free speech rights which all other rights are dependent upon...
        i can tell you from my personal experience: MOST people don't give a shit about 'free speech', they want speech THEY LIKE, period... *that* is their debased 'definition' of free speech...
        they are know-nothing idiots and cowards...

         

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          LAB (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Native Americans......You have the Freedom to say it but you are confusing protecting a mark for commerce with free speech. I hope you see they are not related in the least.

           

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      S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:31pm

      Re:

      As far as I know, some Native American groups do take issue with those names, but nowhere near to the extent that they take issue with ‘redskins’.

       

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        orbitalinsertion (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re:

        It's just that they haven't gained enough traction whenever it comes up. It comes up in Cleveland semi-regularly, but I'm sure Native American cultures have other more pressing issues to deal with and walk away if they can't get any support.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:25pm

    If the NBA is any indication, professional sports leagues don't actually care about racism until it hits their bottom line. With the NFL's revenue sharing system, hits to the Redskins' revenues affects the entire NFL, not just that team. Therefore, the NFL is more likely to take action themselves.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

      Re:

      Did they cancel the Indian-head logo trademark, too? I thought they still had that. If so, what's offensive about the logo? Dozens of other pro and college sports teams have similar Indian logos with valid trademarks.

      However, I don't think it will really hit them very hard at all financially. Even though the team lost their trademark on the word "Redskins", they still have trademark on every *other* aspect of their merchandising-- the Indian-head logo (presumably), the team colors combined with the name "Washington" etc.

      Now that "Redskins" has gone back to the public domain, other people will be legally allowed to sell merchandise with the name Redskins, but the team will still be the only ones who can legally print "Redskins" on their t-shirts and coffee mugs *along with* the team colors combined with the name "Washington" and the Indian head logo.

      The only things Joe Salesman on the street will be able to sell are off-color, no-logo non-team-looking hats and shirts. Who wants to buy that stuff anyway?

      I just don't see this as much of a threat to the team's revenue stream.

       

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        S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:51pm

        Re: Re:

        Here's the thing. The Redskins have a deal with the NFL wherein they pool revenues from merchandise sales and such with all of the other teams in the league (except the Cowboys, who have their own deal with the league) and split those revenues equally amongst the teams.

        If the Redskins stand to lose revenue from an inability to enforce trademarks (i.e. an inability to stop anyone in the world from producing and selling "knockoff" Redskins merch), the entire NFL stands to lose that revenue.

        The people behind the trademark lawsuit wanted the name changed and used the lawsuit as a last resort action. They truly believed Snyder would at least consider a name change before things got this far. Since he has said he'll never change the name, however, the stripping of that trademark remains the best possible chance those people have of getting the name changed. When pressure from the other NFL teams falls on Snyder to change the name, he'll either have to change it or expect a little less money rolling into the team coffers.

        Something tells me he'll do what's best for business and not for his ego.

         

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        LAB (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:16am

        Re: Re:

        Now you see. If everyone can knock off your brand then.....it would behoove you to change the brand so yo can protect it.....

         

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          btr1701 (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 12:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Now you see. If everyone can knock off your brand then....
          > it would behoove you to change the brand

          You don't seem to understand much of what's being said here. The point is, even without a trademark on the Redskins name, "everyone" won't be able to sell team merchandise because the team still has protection for all the *other* aspects of their brand.

           

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            LAB (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 7:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You don't seem to understand much of what's being said here.The point is, even without a trademark on the Redskins name, 'everyone' won't be able to sell team merchandise because the team still has protection for all the *other* aspects of their brand."

            Yes, you are correct. I do not understand much of what is being said here, by you. What other protections are there? I can only assume you mean the logo. However, how would they prevent me from selling a coffee mug with the name "Redskins" on it? Or a jacket? Please explain what other avenues of litigation they would take. If they would use trademark/Lanham Act litigation to stop this and "redskins" is no longer under trademark protection, how would they bring legal action. In May, the franchise presented a former player(Lavar Arrington)with a cease and desist letter because he referred to himself as a former "Redskins great" in an advert for his football camp. What legal action would they take to stop him from stating this now?

             

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              btr1701 (profile), Jun 25th, 2014 @ 9:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              > However, how would they prevent me from selling a coffee
              > mug with the name "Redskins" on it? Or a jacket?

              They can't. But they can prevent you from selling that mug or jacket with the name "Redskins" combined with the team colors (for which they still have a valid trademark), and the team's font style (for which they still have a valid trademark), and the team's Indian-head logo (for which they still have a valid trademark), and the word "Washington" (for which they still have a valid trademark if used in the context of the team).

              So yeah, you can sell your mug with the word "Redskins" on it, but it can't be maroon and gold, and it can't also have the Indian-head logo and it can't say "Washington". So if all you can sell is off-color mugs and jackets that don't look anything at all like the team's regalia, why would I, as a fan, buy them from you when I can get the real thing from the team's official store?

              In other words, who's gonna want to show up on game day wearing a blue hat with just the word "Redskins" on it printed in Helvetica font?

              No one.

               

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    wallyb132 (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:26pm

    ...

    I'm not racist in any way, but I think this is a fight the government needs to stay out of. I dont support the use of racist terms either, but I think the USPTO is way out of line here, I am 41 years old and as far as I can remember the Washington Redskins have used that name. For the USPTO to deny it now is wrong. I'm not saying that the team is right for using the name, I'm just saying that government is wrong for getting involved at any level. In my view, for lack of a better term the 'statute of limitations' for taking action on this by the government expired decades ago.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:29pm

      Re: ...

      "I don't support the use of racist terms, except when they're already being used because of a mistake in the past."

       

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        wallyb132 (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 5:08pm

        Re: Re: ...

        Thats not what I'm saying, I dont support the Redskins use of the term in any way shape or form, but I also do not support government involvement in this issue.

         

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      That One Guy (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:30pm

      Re: ...

      I'm just saying that government is wrong for getting involved at any level.

      In that case you should have no problem with this ruling, as it's the government removing themselves from the issue, by pulling the government issued and enforced trademark.

      The team can still use the name, they just don't have as many government granted legal rights with regards to it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re: ...

        The team can still use the name, they just don't have as many government granted legal rights with regards to it.


        That's a load of baloney. That's like saying the government is "removing" itself from the gay marriage debate by not allowing gay marriage.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:06pm

          Re: Re: Re: ...

          No, the way the government could remove itself from the gay marriage debate is by taking away all the legal benefits of non-gay marriage.

           

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            Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: ...

            That's how the government would remove itself from the marriage debate entirely, not just the gay marriage debate. If they wanted to remove themselves from the gay marriage debate they would just change the legal requirements of marriage from "one consenting, adult man and one consenting, adult woman" to "Two consenting adults".

            Your example would be like the USPTO saying they don't want to be in the debate so they remove all trademarks, not just the ones in question.

             

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              orbitalinsertion (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ...

              Government removing itself from the marriage debate would be pretty weird, considering marriage is a civil contract regulated by governments.

               

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                Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:30pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ...

                There are two forms of marriage, the legal kind that is a civil contract, and the religious kind that the government has (and should have) no involvement in.

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ...

              Your example would be like the USPTO saying they don't want to be in the debate so they remove all trademarks, not just the ones in question.


              I agree with that.

              If they wanted to remove themselves from the gay marriage debate they would just change the legal requirements of marriage from "one consenting, adult man and one consenting, adult woman" to "Two consenting adults".


              Well, that doesn't exactly remove them from the debate. What you propose would be analogous to changing the legal requirements so that the USPTO doesn't deny racist terms. That doesn't remove the government from the debate over whether gay marriage SHOULD be legal or whether the USPTO SHOULD be denying racist terms. It only removes them from the debate over whether a specific term is racist or whether a particular couple is gay.

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:28pm

    Or "African American" and "nigger"

     

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    Hans, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:28pm

    Once again, Mr Geigner, gets it wong...No ones evens uses the word in common parlance..Moreover, only 30% of a sample of First Nationers found it offensive.

    I suspect, if you change the name to whiteskins, you would be considered a white racist.

    The removal is just more PC America with the use of governmental units for social justice.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:29pm

      Re:

      "Only" 30%?

       

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      S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:34pm

      Re:

      As pointed out above, the government’s actually pulling itself away from the issue by removing the government-granted trademark from the Washington team.

      Snyder doesn’t need to change the name, with or without the trademark. Without the trademark, however, the NFL and its teams (minus the Cowboys who have a special deal in place) will put tremendous pressure on him to change the team’s name. The NFL doesn’t want to lose all that sweet merch dosh, after all.

      Government leaves the private sector, the private sector decides how to best handle the situation, and speech (i.e. the ability to use Redskins logos and such without penalty) opens up for everyone. I don’t see how you can’t feel happy about that.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:00pm

        Re: Re:

        "As pointed out above, the government’s actually pulling itself away from the issue by removing the government-granted trademark from the Washington team."

        No it's not. By making this move, the government is making a vary clear statement that it doesn't like this kind of speech and will not protect it. this is the opposite of removing itself.

        If the government did want to remove itself from the argument they would have simply said that they are not the judges of what is or is not offensive.

         

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          That One Guy (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          By making this move, the government is making a vary clear statement that it doesn't like this kind of speech and will not protect it. this is the opposite of removing itself.

          Wait, what? When did not wanting to be involved by refusing to grant a trademark, suddenly turn into 'the opposite of removing itself'?

          By not granting the trademark, that is not giving it government approval and backing, they're quite clearly washing their hands of it, and removing themselves from the matter, what happens to the name after that isn't their problem.

          If the government did want to remove itself from the argument they would have simply said that they are not the judges of what is or is not offensive.

          They are when they're handing out legally enforceable rights based upon 'what is or is not offensive', and in this case they're judging that the term is offensive, and so declaring that they won't be giving it government granted protections.

          At no point are they saying 'We find term X offensive, and you must no longer use it' here.

           

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            Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            “We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,”

            Translation: "We find term X offensive, and we will not protect it".

            The government is refusing to offer the protections it offers to millions of other things based only on if the term is offensive or not.

            This is like removing legal marriage right to some people based only on the idea the same sex marriage is wrong. Or (in a much more extreme example) it's like removing police protection against murders only for a person who said they didn't like the president. While it would appear that they are removing themselves from the argument, the are most definitely not.

             

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              S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              This is like removing legal marriage right to some people based only on the idea the same sex marriage is wrong.

              Show me a court ruling that decreed the removal of all civil marriage rights towards any group of people and didn’t eventually get overturned by the Supreme Court (Loving, Windsor, etc).

               

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                Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                One, it's an example to compare the ridiculousness of the situation.

                Two, gay marriage is still illegal in my state and as far as I know still illegal in most states. You can still get married, but the state government will not provide any of the benefits it provides to all other married couples. It will not be seen as a legal marriage. As far as I know, this has not been addressed by the Supreme Court.

                 

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              The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 6:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The government is refusing to offer the protections it offers to millions of other things based only on if the term is offensive or not.

              It clearly has rules that say that offensive terms cannot be trademarked. By allowing the trademark to continue in the light of this new scrutiny, the government is affirming that "Redskin" is not offensive.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:13pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It clearly has rules that say that offensive terms cannot be trademarked.


                Yes, it does. SHOULD it have those rules? And should it use those rules to revoke a trademark that it had already granted over 40 years ago?

                The purpose of trademark is really to reduce consumer confusion. The main people who will benefit from revoking the registration of this existing trademark are people who want to traffic in counterfeit Redskins goods. I just don't see the logic of "this word is offensive, therefore we should allow counterfeit goods containing this word." It seems to be a non sequitur to me.

                By allowing the trademark to continue in the light of this new scrutiny, the government is affirming that "Redskin" is not offensive.


                Only if it actually rules that the term is not offensive. If it again dismissed the claim as being too old (why didn't anyone oppose the mark when it was being granted, or within a reasonable time after it was granted?) then that is not saying the term is not offensive. (Unless you think the previous dismissal on those grounds meant that the government affirmed that it was not offensive.) Or if it ruled that the offensive term rule was unconstitutional (it probably isn't) that would obviously not be the same as ruling that the term is not offensive.

                And let's say the government actually DOES explicitly rule that the term is not offensive. So what? You're allowed to be offended by terms not on an official government list of offensive terms. And I think any impact of "the government" saying it's not offensive is rather reduced when you have half the Senate plus the President already saying that it is.

                 

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                  The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 8:13pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Yes, it does. SHOULD it have those rules?

                  See my response to Chrono S. Trigger.

                  And should it use those rules to revoke a trademark that it had already granted over 40 years ago?

                  Are you suggesting that, if the government finds it made a mistake, that it should go on making that mistake into perpetuity? That's a strange stance to make.

                  I just don't see the logic of "this word is offensive, therefore we should allow counterfeit goods containing this word."

                  Does your outlook change if you rephrase it to: therefore we shouldn't protect it with the rule of law?

                  Only if it actually rules that the term is not offensive.

                  No. If a word is trademarked, and there is a rule that no offensive words or phrases can be trademarked, then any trademarked word, in the eyes of the government, is either (a) not offensive or (b) trademarked in error. Since "Redskin" is at least debatably offensive, the government had only one choice: (b).

                  why didn't anyone oppose the mark when it was being granted, or within a reasonable time after it was granted?

                  Why does it matter?

                  And let's say the government actually DOES explicitly rule that the term is not offensive.

                  I think, by canceling the trademark, the government has already indicated that it *is* offensive-- the appeals process is where they could be proven wrong.

                  I don't understand the rest of the paragraph containing the quoted sentence above.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 9:22pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Does your outlook change if you rephrase it to: therefore we shouldn't protect it with the rule of law?


                    No. What are we really protecting? The word, or the consumer who buys a "Redskins" jacket that then falls apart and he doesn't even know who the real manufacturer is?

                    Why does it matter?


                    You could be wrongfully convicted of a crime because the judge gave the jury improper instructions, but if you try to appeal those instructions ten years later, you're out of luck as far as the appeals court is concerned. If someone defamed you in 1999 and you tried to bring an action now, there's no way that the court would accept the delay. And it works the other way too; the government can't ordinarily prosecute you for a petty theft that happened 20 years ago.

                    No. If a word is trademarked, and there is a rule that no offensive words or phrases can be trademarked, then any trademarked word, in the eyes of the government, is either (a) not offensive or (b) trademarked in error. Since "Redskin" is at least debatably offensive, the government had only one choice: (b).


                    But it could be "(b), but we aren't going to change it because you waited 40 years." Which is what they *actually did* the first time this lawsuit was brought - it was refiled with younger plaintiffs because it was determined that the original, older, plaintiffs should have objected a long time ago if they wanted to object.

                    I'm not unsympathetic to the argument that the USPTO needs to follow the law as it is written, though. They obviously do. If the law says they need to revoke the trademark, then even if that law is stupid, they need to revoke the trademark. But that still leaves questions like what the criteria is for offensiveness. In the original article, Tim cited a figure of 37% of Native Americans finding the term offensive. That's not even a majority of the group in question, let alone a majority of Americans. Is 37% of one group really enough to revoke a trademark? And the word itself seem rather neutral - if the nickname was something like "Scalpers", that word would bring to mind something rather offensive. But "Redskins"? That's a color and the outer part of the body. It doesn't seem inherently offensive to me.

                     

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                      nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 8:34am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      You could be wrongfully convicted of a crime because the judge gave the jury improper instructions, but if you try to appeal those instructions ten years later, you're out of luck as far as the appeals court is concerned. If someone defamed you in 1999 and you tried to bring an action now, there's no way that the court would accept the delay. And it works the other way too; the government can't ordinarily prosecute you for a petty theft that happened 20 years ago.

                      Those are all examples of events that happened once, not something that's ongoing like a trademark.

                       

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                Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                AC is right. The USPTO may have rules that say no offensive terms can be trademarked, but it really shouldn't. What qualifies as offensive? Why does the government get to decide what is offensive and what isn't?

                As btr1701 pointed out: "And then there's registered marks 'NewsWhore', 'Bitches Bash', 'Creepy-Ass Cracka', and 'Suck It', all of which enjoy good standing at the USPTO."

                What makes "Redskins" so much more offensive then "Creepy-Ass Cracka"? "Redskins" is an old term that lost it's sting long ago (Like how "Humbug" was a vary bad swear word long ago). "Cracka" is a current term that is currently said with specific intent to offend.

                What is and is not offensive is based on emotion. Emotion should not come into play when making policy. We all know how that can turn ugly fast.

                 

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                  The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 8:00pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The USPTO may have rules that say no offensive terms can be trademarked, but it really shouldn't.

                  I fail to see how that has any bearing on this specific, real world scenario. They do have that rule, and so, their actions are justified by it.

                  What makes "Redskins" so much more offensive then "Creepy-Ass Cracka"?

                  The amount of people complaining about it, and the volume at which they are complaining. Logically speaking, the only way you can really determine if something is offensive is how many people are offended by it, and how offended they are.

                  Emotion should not come into play when making policy.

                  ..and if we were having a hypothetical question on whether or not this rule should exist, I might agree-- I believe the stance is that, by doing this, the government is "not removing itself", but actually making a statement.

                  In reality, the government is following the rules it has set for itself. They really had no other option but to remove the trademark protection. That is not a statement of whether the law is good or bad, but a fact.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 8:48pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    ..and if we were having a hypothetical question on whether or not this rule should exist, I might agree--


                    We can be having a discussion on whatever we like. Hypothetical, reality, whatever.

                    They really had no other option but to remove the trademark protection.


                    It's not an option to say it's too late, you should have objected sometime during the first 30 years the trademark existed?

                    I think my main problem with this whole situation is that the people suing don't actually care whether there is a piece of paper at the USPTO with a trademark registration on it. They are suing because they want to use any means they can to get the Redskins to change their name. To quote Tim in the original article on this, "So how do we finally get the name changed? As it turns out, the answer just might be trademark law." This isn't a case where a government action may incidentally cause the team to change their name. This is a case where people wanted the name changed and decided to use the power of the government to try to force the change, even though the government does not have the authority to make a football team change their team nickname. I feel that this is a misuse of government power. If this doesn't work they'll try to make the FTC ban Redskins broadcasts. If that doesn't work they'll probably do something else. Zoning denials? Ripping up the freeway that leads to the stadium? Who knows?

                    If the term was really that offensive, a boycott should work. The little bit they're going to lose to counterfeiters is nothing compared to what they'd lose if people stopped buying the merchandise altogether, stopped going to games, and stopped watching them on TV. If most people are offended then it should be easy to get a large drop in ratings and sales. If a boycott doesn't work, that probably shows that most people aren't really offended enough to care.

                     

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:04am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Logically speaking, the only way you can really determine if something is offensive is how many people are offended by it, and how offended they are.



                    I've heard two different numbers regarding how many people brought this issue up: 5 and 8.

                     

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                    btr1701 (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 7:23am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    > Logically speaking, the only way you can really
                    > determine if something is offensive is how many
                    > people are offended by it, and how offended they are.

                    Then the fact that the overwhelming majority of Native Americans have no problems with "Redskins" should be the deciding factor.

                     

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        art guerrilla (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:03am

        Re: Re:

        well, its not like the 'deadskins' (as a washingtoon area native, *that* is what we REALLY called them, because -for a LOT of my life- they sucked hard) can't sell their crap, it is just that OTHERS can now sell all kinds of 'redskins' crap without paying royalties, or being subject to seizure, etc...
        who knows, with all the attention, people may perversely decide to buy MORE 'skins crap than ever BECAUSE of the 'ban'...

         

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    ethorad (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:31pm

    SO they are being "cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered"

    I can see that as a reason not to grant them, but isn't it better to say that they're *cancelled* because they are disparaging *now*? Otherwise is it OK to hold a trademark on an offensive term if you registered it before it was considered to be offensive? For example, if you had trademarked the N-word say 50-100 years ago when it was relatively common parlance. This ruling would seem to suggest you can hang on to the trademark.

    Presumably the govt can't retrospectively cancel the trademark - as then people who had been sued for infringing on it could then sue "that team" to get their money back which doesn't seem fair since they were acting under the rules in place at the time.

     

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      art guerrilla (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      a good point, and -again- makes me wonder why the redskins are singled out for this 'honor'...
      I STILL HAVE NOT HEARD a good or reasonable explanation for why *THIS* name is insulting, but the others (Braves, chiefs, etc) are not...
      (which reminds me: wasn't their mascot named 'Chief Takhomasak' in coordination with steak-n-shake, or something ? but *that* wasn't an indication the Braves was racist ?)
      seems VERY arbitrary to me...
      what about long time products like 'Uncle Ben's Rice', i can easily see how that would be offensive to blacks, EVEN THOUGH it isn't like it is 'Old Nigger Rice', it is STILL possible to be offended by historical images of black servants...
      hell, what about 'Aunt Jemimah' ? i have NO DOUBT that was a racist image being peddled, NOT an honorific to show how much they respected the ability of blacks to make cane syrup... but *that'* okay ? ? ?
      whatever...
      lastly, does this mean that ONLY POSITIVE aspects of ANY cohort can be referred to, NEVER anything 'negative' ?
      that is bullshit and censorship...

      i'll keep asking:
      what's in your brain ? ? ?
      ('cause this is leading to thoughtkrimes as sure as night follows day...)

       

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    Anonymous, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:34pm

    Wait a minute...

    "...these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered". If that's true, how did they get registered in the first place?

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:40pm

      Re: Wait a minute...

      Because the government itself, being as racist as the nation as a whole, didn't care at the time. However, there is no doubt that it was a disparaging term in the day regardless.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Re: Wait a minute...

        I rather doubt the people registering the term considered it disparaging, or they wouldn't be using it to describe themselves in the first place.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 8:15am

          Re: Re: Re: Wait a minute...

          There's no doubt they knew it was a derogatory term. They just didn't care (or it being derogatory was the point -- a bit of "humor"). But it doesn't matter even slightly if they knew it was derogatory or not -- the people it referred to, and society at large, certainly knew.

           

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    Everything is in play, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:35pm

    Nabisco

    It's time that we remove the work "cracker" from all Nabisco products, especially Saltines. I don't appreciate seeing the word "Cracker" anywhere and it should be banned from all print....worldwide.....because my feelings are hurt.

    I could give a rats ass what they call the team but let's make sure we put up a site somewhere for everyone to list everything that they want banned so that no-one ever gets their feelings hurt. I have yet to see anything anywhere in our constitution that states you have the right to not be offended... though I'm sure an amendment is coming soon.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

      Re: Nabisco

      These laughable arguments are so boring. Please come up with something original.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:41pm

      Re: Nabisco

      You do understand that the term "redskins" wasn't banned, right? The team can continue to use it until the end of days if they wish.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:54pm

        Re: Re: Nabisco

        You do realize that this whole lawsuit is an attempt to use the power of the federal government to get them to change the name, right? Nobody who sued actually cares about whether the trademark is registered or unregistered, except as a method to attempt to force the team to change its name.

         

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          S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Nabisco

          The Washington team has no legal obligation to change its name, even with the revocation of the trademark.

          The government said "you don't get government protection of trademark". The government didn't say "you have to change the team name". If the NFL wants the team to keep its name, the team can keep its name - it just can’t go after people for trademark violations.

          Now, if that means the team ends up changing its name to something that it can trademark, that's on the NFL and the team, not the government.

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re: Nabisco

          Of course. But it's not using the power of the federal government so much as getting the government to stop granting a privilege.

           

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    Zonker, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 2:56pm

    But "cracker" isn't a trademarked name, "Nabisco" is. But "Nabisco" is not a racially derogatory term. And refusing trademark protection isn't banning anything, it's actually opening up the use of the term on sports related products for everybody.

     

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    Paul Sherman, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:26pm

    Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

    This is downright asinine. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and know many tribes here. They think the hoopla over this is asinine and insulting. The man who this team was named for was a Native American, and he was PROUD to be called a redskin.

    We now live in the United Socialist States of America, where Marxism is our philosophy. Really sad, and destructive to what was once a proud country where people could be who they are and not dropped on by the elites in D.C. who seem to think we need them to wipe our assess.

    God help anyone who thinks this is a good thing.

     

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      S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:34pm

      Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

      The man who this team was named for was a Native American, and he was PROUD to be called a redskin.

      In the on-screen words of professional wrestler Wade Barrett…I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS.

      http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2014/05/30/3443168/redskins-founder-i-didnt-name-team-to-honor- native-americans/

       

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        slander (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:44pm

        Re: Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

        My, what a completely trustworthy, unbiased source you have.

         

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          S. T. Stone, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 11:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

          My, what a wonderful refutation of facts you have there!

          Oh wait.

           

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            JEDIDIAH, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 7:31am

            Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

            All you need to do is to look at the name. It's clearly a publication catering to liberal busybodies. What you have there is something along the lines of citing the proverbial encyclopedia article. Alone as a cite it is completely worthless.

            If there were some real sources in that article, then THOSE should have been presented.

             

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              S. T. Stone, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:09am

              Re: Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

              You…you didn’t actually read the article, did you?

              It points to a 1933 interview George Preston Marshall (the Washington team’s original owner and team founder) did with the Associated Press. The article even displays an image of a printout of the interview in question (which comes from the 6 July 1933 edition of the Hartford Courant).

              You can also fact check everything else brought up as factual information within the article. Google exists for a reason. Speaking of which, a quick Google search of that news clip's title brought me to an archival search engine for the Courant that has the news clip in question (though you must pay a fee to see it through that archive).

              http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/courant/doc/558320984.html?FMT=CITE&FMTS=CITE:AI&type=h istoric&date=Jul+6%2C+1933&author=&pub=The+Hartford+Courant+%281923-1988%29&edition= &startpage=&desc=Boston+Braves+Grid+Men+Become+%27Redskins%27

              You can bitch about the source all you want, but that doesn’t refute the facts laid out in the article. Come back when you can do that – and if you can't, don't bother replying because I don’t want to deal with you dishing out a piss-poor joke or insult to get around trying to refute factual information that you can't actually refute.

               

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                CrushU, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 11:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

                I'm personally a fan of how when the name was changed to such an obviously insulting name, that all of the 'several Indian players' quit the team because of the inherent racism involved in the team's name.

                Oh wait, that never actually happened.

                Because it's not offensive.

                 

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      nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:41am

      Re: Marxism is alive and well in the U.S.S.A.

      We now live in the United Socialist States of America, where Marxism is our philosophy.

      Did Marxism include something about not using racial slurs? I don't remember that.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 3:50pm

    the provision in trademark law forbidding marks of a racial nature is fairly clear

    You mean a racist nature, not a racial nature, right? Otherwise there would be a LOT of groups losing trademark registrations.

    Speech is actually opened up by this ruling, not infringed upon.


    I KNOW you know what a chilling effect is, and it's disingenuous to pretend that a chilling effect isn't both present and intended here. Certainly you don't actually WANT more people to use the term.

    I don't particularly care for a world where speech deemed "offensive" can't be uttered, nor do I generally like when the government sticks its nose in most things. I understand that completely -- I just think there are some serious arguments for ensuring the government doesn't grant exclusive rights to organizations on the backs of horribly racist terms.


    So what are those "serious arguments"? It's not simply that the term is used - you said yourself that you wouldn't care for a world where speech deemed offensive can't be uttered, and that this can't actually stop them from using the term anyway. It's not that you really care about exclusivity, either; you'd certainly not like it if this ruling resulted in the Washington Nationals and the Washington Wizards also changing their name to Redskins. I assume, then, that your reasons are stated here:

    ... it's about a government office that purports to represent all of us granting exclusive rights based on language that an overwhelming majority of outlets define as racist. The public can and does have an interest in how government represents us and granting trademark to that kind of term just isn't okay.


    But it's a just a registration. It's not "government approval" in any meaningful way. The only rights it grants are the same rights granted to every other professional sports team in America. As I've previously said, if the government allows the Whig party to trademark their name that does not mean the government is endorsing the Whigs, or political parties in general, or words that start with W. And the government would not even blink at registering the copyright for a book which contained every racist term imaginable, nor should they. If the government approves the zoning for the local KKK office that doesn't mean that the government endorses the activities of the KKK - and indeed, they would likely get sued if they tried denying the zoning based on the racist nature of the group. So why is trademark so different?

    And of course I have to close with this quote:

    As strong proponents of free speech, we've made the point in the past that protecting the freedom of speech is going to necessitate protecting it for the kind of speech you wouldn't typically like to exist. Put another way, it's quite easy to be in favor of free speech when you aren't the one offended. It takes much more mental courage to stick up for the protected speech of a Nazi, a bigot, a sexist, or an idiot.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

      Re:

      > But it's a just a registration. It's not
      > "government approval" in any meaningful way.

      Every time this issue comes up, Tim tries to make the case that the government's acceptance of a trademark registration somehow equates to them approving of it (or "sanctifying" it, as I believe he's said in the past).

      Nothing could be further from the truth. Not anymore than a city's grant of a business license to a porn store is equivalent to a government endorsement of porn.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 5:36am

        Re: Re:

        This. The government's enforcement of the mark is simply a duty they must fulfill and I don't see how anyone can conflate that any further. There is no endorsement either explicitly or implicitly defined. Any one who thinks so is simply wrong. If the mark was revoked on technical grounds, I'd have no issue.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:06pm

    Speech is actually opened up by this ruling, not infringed upon.


    This argument doesn't particularly impress me seeing as I rather suspect you'd say the same thing if trademarks and the trademark system were abolished entirely.

     

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    Chief HeyHowAreYa, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    As an Italian American who grew up in the Bronx all I can say is "STFU and stop crying about every god damned thing" Life is full of shit we don't like, soon the thought police will be rounding YOU up for disagreeing with some other ridiculous nonsense. I voted for that idiot Obama the first time and now I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire, really wouldn't. So I guess I'm a racist because I don't like him? It's not the color of someone's skin people dislike as much as it's the culture and behavior. I don't like black culture, I don't like ghetto behavior, if they were purple with blue dots nothing would change. America is such of bunch of panzies now, I'm ashamed at our intolerance towards intolerance.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:49pm

    Things to do tomorrow:

    Have T Shirts and Jerseys printed up with the RedSkins Logo on them (minus player names and the NFL logo)

    Sell them on the streets for 1/3 the cost of the originals

    Retire to a nice quiet beach in the Caribbean

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 4:49pm

    I can't wait to see what else the government will pull the trademark from. Freedom first, here in the USA!

     

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    wallyb132 (profile), Jun 18th, 2014 @ 5:23pm

    I used to be neutral on this subject

    I used to have no opinion on these types of subjects until several years ago, in Phoenix AZ, we used to have a popular hiking spot in the center of Phoenix called Squaw Peak, and a freeway that ran along side if it called the Squaw Peak parkway. There was a fight over the name and the city relented and renamed it to "piestewa peak". Ok no big deal, then shortly after the name change, an 84 year old woman who used to go for walks in the morning, using street signs to navigate found herself lost due to the fact that she couldn't find the sign for the squaw peak parkway, she called 911 from her cell phone claiming she was lost, and subsequently wandered in to the desert, a search ensued, and when we found her body, she was about a half mile from the road she needed to follow to get home, she died of dehydration because someone threw a fit about the name of a mountain and a street name. At that point I became very jaded on the subject.

    I was working as an EMT at the time and was part of the search team that was looking for this woman, and one of whom who found her body... I dont give a fuck what argument people put forward, its all bullshit...

     

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      nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:46am

      Re: I used to be neutral on this subject

      As unfortunate as that is, that is an argument against changing street names, and doesn't have anything specifically to do with race.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 6:17pm

    30% consider it to be a slur

    ... which 30%? How is that 30% distributed? Where did this 30% number come from?

    Is it tribal? (IE some tribes yes, some no)
    Is it political? (IE liberals yes, conservatives no)
    Is it economic? (IE poor yes, rich no)
    is it pole-graphic? (IE pushpoll yes, neutral poll no)


    You say it doesn't matter? I say nay! Details matter!

     

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    Quiet Lurcker, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:18pm

    To (mis-)quote Gene Wilder...

    WRONG, sir! You are WRONG!!

    To begin, I challenge you here and how to name ONE person who has taken offense at the name, or does so. Name, home address, other personally identifying information so I can speak to them and get it 'from the horse's mouth'.

    If the moniker of this team IS racist now, it WAS racist then, and should not have been approved. The name was approved, and that was in the late 1920's or early 1930's. Eighty-odd years ago, now. Surely, 80 years' history is sufficient to invoke equities involving regular and common usage. (The technical terms escape at the moment - when something has been in regular use and has been accepted for long enough that it is considered by courts to be 'official'.)

    More to the point, this could have a chilling effect on future business decisions entirely unrelated to this football franchise: business owners could well become reticent to name their business or product, or place (or whatever else) for fear of potential loss of copyright/trademark protection in 80 years, owing to changes in social norms.

    Furthermore, the government has no business poking its long nose into this matter; it's one for the public to vote on by either spending or not spending money to watch the team play.

    Ipso facto, res ipsa loquitor, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, etc., etc.; it's all there in black and white.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 7:45pm

    After you finish your victory lap, you miserable, cringing asswipe- make sure to launch your next crusade to demand the USPTO take identical action against the National Association For the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). And the United Negro College Fund. You are truly a ginormous, politically correct, douchecanoe and every football fan in the world would probably like to kick your candy ass. Enjoy the World Cup, you simpering pantywaist.

     

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    zip, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 8:28pm

    Black Man® scrub brushes

    If "Redskins" doesn't pass muster for a sports team, then it's a forgone conclusion that this popular Asian brand of household cleaning products wouldn't stand a Snowball's Chance in Hell of getting a US trademark.

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/print/295230/

     

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    gloribea, Jun 18th, 2014 @ 9:54pm

    America?

    Is this America anymore? Harry Reid and those who support him are enemies of freedom. I cannot believe what is happening to this country. We all know the only reason this trademark was picked on was because the current govt. wants us to focus on something other then foreign policy disasters, rising gas prices, food to expensive too buy, housing values still upside, a doubled deficit in less than eight years, a govt clogging of the economy with more and more laws and regulations, and the slow bleeding away of our freedoms through political correctness. By the time this idiot is out of office America will be paying $5 a gallon for gas and $10.00 for a pound of ground beef.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:36am

    In related news:


    Neshaminy administrators confiscate newspapers printed by student editors without principal's approval

    PENNSYLVANIA — Neshaminy High School administrators confiscated the student newspaper’s final issue of the year Friday, after students printed the paper without administrative approval following renewed disagreement over the students’ ban on the word “Redskins.”

    http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=2735

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 7:42am

    remove the term free country from every document and privacy. I'm offended by it because it's a lie.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Bah, just keep the non-racist logo, and rename the team 'Washington ThinSkins'

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    The exact same thing happened in 1999. The USPTO revoked their trademarks, the Redskins took them to court and won, which reversed the trademark office's ruling.

    They lost in 1999, what has changed since then? Why is this being brought up now? Is it because they want people focused on this and not other things?

     

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      S. T. Stone, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      Actually, in the original 1999 case, the Redskins lost.

      They won the appeal on an issue of statue of limitations in 2003 and finally won the whole shebang when SCOTUS refused to hear the case in 2009.

      So yeah, took 'em a decade, but they did win. I imagine this new case might take just as long to sift through the courts.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:56am

    I'm not too terribly interested in the government's involvement or non-involvement in this issue. I'm much more interested in what this controversy, and in particular knee-jerk responses to this controversy on this site and elsewhere. It is a fascinating little experiment in how far American culture has moved past the days of the Indian Wars. And the response, particularly on tech and other "nerd" websites, is not encouraging.

    Hard as it may be, let's ignore Obama and the ever-tedious Coke/Pepsi debate for the moment. Whatever actions or motivations taken by USPTO, the Obama administration et al., for good or for ill, are motivated by politics and self-interest. This would be true of any bureaucrat or politician; no matter what side they take and no matter their justifications, I think we can all safely agree that career-based self-interest is a large part of it.

    For the average American spectator - and for the commentators here and elsewhere - that motivation does not (or should not) exist. On the individual level, for those of us non-natives who don't have careers or billions of dollars riding on this issue, the decision-making process seems pretty straightforward. Either:

    1. Err on the side of common-courtesy and historical sensitivity, acknowledging that while not all natives find the names offensive - and irrespective of the contested historical origins of the term - it's simply not worth the risk of rubbing salt in the centuries-long wounds of those who are offended by it, all for the sake of a stupid corporate sports logo. You know, just as a courtesy, as modern 21st century men and women who (should) no longer have any incentive in trivializing the grievances of indigenous peoples.

    2. Expend lots of time and energy defending a billionaire's callousness towards the feelings of others, operating under the bizarre notion that NFL team names are some sort of sacrosanct pillar of our society that must be defended at all costs.

    3. Screw those corn-eating bastards anyway, I refuse to be held accountable for my refusal to empathize with others.

    Ignoring the pointless politics and willful misinterpretations of the First Amendment, the American public is being given an opportunity to show that we have grown up and matured since the Manifest Destiny days, and that maybe we're finally willing to put the feelings of our indigenous neighbors above the marketing priorities of our big business apparatus. Many in this thread are left wanting in this respect.

    Almost none of the chest-thumping freedom-warriors in this thread would walk onto a reservation and start calling the inhabitants "redskins" to their face, those who insist that they would tend to be so socially maladjusted as to never worry about finding themselves in such a situation. This disinclination towards doing so is not because of some nefarious political correctness Illuminati; it's just something that adults do as a consequence of being an adult.

    Adults don't scramble for questionable surveys trying to justify their foot-in-mouthness using statistics of all things. Adults don't try to argue historical semantics. Adults don't jump to specious analogies that inadvertently imply that the life of the average white North American is comparable to the life of the average native. Adults don't consider "but we've always done so" to be a valid justification, nor do they treat the names of sports teams with such reverence and defensiveness.

    Maybe only half of natives find the name offensive. Maybe only a third. Maybe only a handful. Whatever the truth, my question is: why do you consider the feelings of Daniel Snyder and an inanimate corporate logo caricature to be more worthy of your outrage than the continued dehumanization of a broken and defeated people?

    (Keeping in mind that Mr. Snyder will not be thanking you for defending his business interest for free)

     

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      nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      Adults don't scramble for questionable surveys trying to justify their foot-in-mouthness using statistics of all things. Adults don't try to argue historical semantics. Adults don't jump to specious analogies that inadvertently imply that the life of the average white North American is comparable to the life of the average native. Adults don't consider "but we've always done so" to be a valid justification, nor do they treat the names of sports teams with such reverence and defensiveness.

      I think you're overestimating a great number of adults (or redefining the term).

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re:

        I'm considering "being 18+" to be distinct from "acting like an adult", but I definitely see your point.

         

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    Sheogorath (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:04am

    So when the USPTO says they're removing the registration because the term is disparaging and they don't want to grant rights for the team to seek trademark damages to that kind of language in all of our names, I happen to think that make sense.
    Actually, it makes no sense at all. Now, if we were talking about changing the logo to a football (which has a reddish brown 'skin'), then that would make sense, but changing a decades old name because a vocal minority got butthurt? I don't think so.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:25am

    Snyder

    After this whole controversy erupted (again) I kind of assumed Snyder was an old man like that Clippers douchebag. Then I saw a photo of him, and discovered he's not even 50. Was anyone else surprised by that?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:30pm

    So then all you cocksuckers, is the gov. for or against pedos? Do they protect them from other inmates? If they remove that protection, are they making a statement or just removing themselves from the debate?

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      Your analogy is so nonsensical that I think you must have forgotten to take your meds today.

      Protecting inmates from other inmates is not a "privilege" that is granted by the government. It is the legal responsibility of the government.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 8:03am

    Name would be free to use. Image protection was also revoked.

    You print up Jersey's with logo, what more do you need? Leave off the NFL logo and the name of the player, you are golden.

    Of course, everything is still in place pending appeal, and in fact, the Redskins will win.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      Image protection was also revoked.

      "The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the name of the Washington Redskins"

      Do you have a citation demonstrating the trademark on the logo was revoked?

       

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    identicon
    CrushU, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 11:49am

    Figured it out

    What we have here is a failure to communicate. A difference of definition, you could say.

    Everyone thinks 'racist' means 'derogatory to a specific race'.

    Except people who think the name should be changed. They think 'racist' means 'referring to a specific race'. Because that would be correct.

    Why yes, they do have red skin. And that guy has yellow skin, he has white skin, and she has black skin. Are we supposed to care?

    And if you do care? You're the racist. You are literally making an argument on the basis of race.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Figured it out

      Except people who think the name should be changed. They think 'racist' means 'referring to a specific race'.

      No, they don't. They believe the term is derogatory, and you do not. That is the difference of opinion.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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