NFL Team Redskins Requested Supreme Court to Review Its Trademark Case
Apr 27, 2016 06:24 AM EDT
The three-times NFL champion Washington Redskins asked the US Supreme Court to evaluate the case involving its brand name. The controversy regarding its name started in 2014 which will be reviewed in the 4th Circuit of Appeals in Virginia.
The name Redskins is deemed controversial since it is considered disparaging and maligning the Native American. In June 2014, a trial conducted by the US Patent and Trademark Office had cancelled six trademarks owned by the team. However, in December 2015 Washington Post reported that federal court ruled that a provision of the 1946 Lanham Act, which holds that trademarks could be cancelled if they "may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute," was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
Federal courts ruling came after the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) had rejected a trademark of the Oregon-based band, "The Slant." The PTO rejected a trademark because it felt the name disparaged Asian American people. However, the federal courts ruled the band had the right to trademark protection even if some people were offended by the name.
The Redskins filed a petition on Monday to the US Supreme Court asking the court to review the case. CBS News reported that the band's recent success in court is likely why the Redskins filed the petition. Referring to the Oregon band's case, Lee v. Tam, the Washington Redskins wants its case to be reviewed in the Supreme Court as well.
Previously, US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee rejected the argument from the Redskins. The team argued that when their trademarks were granted four times, there was no indication that the vast majority of Native Americans had any objections during the period between 1967 to 1990.
In November, during the opening brief before the Court of Appeals, lawyers for the team argued that rejecting its trademark name for Redkins is more than just a violation of the First Amendment. It is also arbitrary for the patent office to grant the patent, considering the office had allowed many similarly inflammatory names, such as "Party With Sluts," "Redneck Army apparel" and "Booty Call sex aids."
Currently, the team's case is still before the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals. The team lawyer, as reported by ABC News, argued in the petition, that hearing both trademark cases at the same time would allow for the full range of issues to be considered at once rather than in a piecemeal fashion.
"The Team is better situated than Tam to address not only the vagueness and due process questions, but also the First Amendment question in Tam," wrote team's lawyers.
Washington Redskins has filed petition on Monday to ask the US Supreme Court to evaluate its brand name case. The controversy surrounding the name arose in 2014 when the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six trademarks owned by the team.