The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration on Wednesday, a move that won’t force the NFL team to change its name but fuels the intense fight by opponents to eliminate what they view as a racial slur against Native Americans.
The 99-page decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said the team’s name and logo are disparaging. It dilutes the Redskins’ legal protection against infringement and hinders the team’s ability to block counterfeit merchandise from entering the country.
But its effect is largely symbolic. The ruling cannot stop the team from selling T-shirts, beer glasses and license-plate holders with the moniker or keep the team from trying to defend itself against others who try to profit from the logo. And the trademark registrations will remain effective during any appeal process.