Yesterday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) cancelled six registrations related to the Washington Redskins professional football team. The TTAB found the marks violated Section 2(a) of the Federal Lanham Act, which bars registration of trademarks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.
While this is a setback for Pro Football, Inc., the owner of the WASHINGTON REDSKINS trademarks, it is certainly not the end of the story. The team has already announced that it will appeal the decision to federal court. Furthermore, the TTAB decision only covers the right to register the trademarks. It does not impact the team’s right to use the trademarks, nor does it impact the team’s common law trademark rights, which are based on use of the marks in commerce.