Wider Implications of the U.S. Patent Office Decision on the Washington Redskins
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Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the trademark registrations of the Washington Redskins. A panel of three judges at the agency ruled the football team’s name is disparaging to Native Americans. The team says it will appeal the decision but pressure is building for change. This is the second time the Washington Redskins team has had its trademarks revoked: In 1999, the Patent Office ruled the name was disparaging, but the decision was overturned on appeal. Critics of the name say this time is different because of a groundswell of objections, including a letter signed by fifty U.S. senators. Supporters of the name argue it honors Native Americans, and that forcing a name change violates freedom of speech. Guest host Susan Page and a panel discuss the debate over a trademark and changing ideas about what’s offensive.
author, "The King of Sports: Football's Impact on America." He is a contributing editor of "The Atlantic Monthly" and "The Washington Monthly," and a columnist for ESPN.com.
principal, Bruce Fein & Associates and author of "Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy."
law professor, American University Washington College of Law; author of the forthcoming book "Global Issues In Trademark Law"
executive director, National Congress of American Indians; former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) during the Clinton Administration. Pata is a member of the Raven/Sockeye Clan of the Tlingit Tribe (pronounced – Kling-get) and a member of the Central Council of the Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.