Gaining Momentum: Opposition in Redskins Lawsuit Enter Into Similar ‘Slants’ Case

On Friday, July 24, Amanda Blackhorse and the other Native Americans challenging the Washington Redskins over the team’s trademark registrations jumped into a parallel case in the Federal Circuit.  The other case involves The Slants, a band that was refused a trademark in 2013 due to the name being offensive to Asian-Americans, and the en banc Federal Circuit’s decision could weigh heavily in the challengers’ case against the football team. The Slants are currently arguing that the government’s ban on disparaging trademarks violates the First…
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From Football to Cheerleading: Washington Redskins Voice Support for Band’s Trademark Case

By now, most people are aware that last summer, the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration after finding the team’s name and logo to be disparaging to American Indians.  Last week, however, the team took a serious interest in a lower-profile case involving a band called the Slants. Previously, the USPTO refused the band’s two trademark applications, declaring that “slants” is disparaging to people of Asian descent.  On Thursday, June 18, the team threw its support behind the band,…
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Rise and Fall of an Empire (Distribution, Inc.)

In the pilot episode of Fox’s smash-hit series Empire, Cookie Lyon, explaining why, after her release from jail, she’s returning to her husband Lucious Lyon’s fictional record label, Empire Entertainment, says simply: “I’m here to get what’s mine.”  This is, of course, in reference to the formerly-jailed matriarch having taken the rap for Lucious to the tune of 17 years behind bars for drug-running while he built his music “empire.” Coincidentally, it also may sum up the thinking over the last couple of months…
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Oprah Free to Say “Own Your Power”

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty ruled that Oprah Winfrey may use the phrase “Own Your Power,” ending a trademark battle that started in 2011.  Ruling in favor of Oprah, the judge found that Oprah demonstrated that the phrase “lack[ed] the requisite distinctiveness” to warrant trademark protection. The suit was brought by Simone Kelly-Brown, a motivational speaker and business coach, who runs Own Your Power Communications, Inc.  She argued that the phrase was registered in 2008.  Then in 2010, the Oprah…
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Washington Redskins Argue a Violation of their Free Speech

The Washington Redskins fought back against the recent decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelling the team’s  trademark protection over the use of the term ‘redskin’ as many Native American groups find it disparaging. The court papers filed Monday by the team argue the law denying registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional because it infringes on the team’s First Amendment right to free speech.  The team’s attorneys argue the cancellation of the trademarks disfavors the team and singles them out, “interfering with the…
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US Gov’t Joins Fight Against “Redskins” Trademark

On Friday, January 9, the United States Department of Justice filed a notice of intervention with the Eastern District of Virginia to intervene in the lawsuit between Washington’s football team and the Native American group, who successfully petitioned to have the team’s trademarks revoked. The lawsuit stems from a June ruling by the US Patent & Trademark Office that revoked six of the Washington football team’s trademarks as the term “Redskin” was determined to be disparaging to a substantial amount of Native Americans during the…
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Redskins Suit Against Native Americans over Trademarks Goes Forward

A federal judge in Virginia decided to hear the Redskins’ suit against a group of Native Americans over the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to cancel the Redskins trademark registrations. In a suit brought by a Native American before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) decided in June to cancel the Redskins six trademark registrations because the name was “disparaging to Native Americans.”  The team filed a federal lawsuit to overturn that decision. Following the Redskins…
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Another Hurdle for the Washington Redskins Fight for Trademark Protection

In June, a group of five Native Americans successfully challenged the Washington Redskins’ trademark as disparaging. Now, the five Native Americans asked a federal judge to dismiss the team’s counter-lawsuit to reverse the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) decision. The Native Americans filed a motion in U.S. District Court arguing that the team does not have a legal right to sue the five Native Americans to reverse the USPTO’s ruling. After the USPTO ruled in favor of the Native Americans, the Washington Redskins…
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Washington Redskins Claim Trademark Cancellation Unconstitutional

On Thursday, August 14, The Washington Redskins football team filed a complaint in the united states district court for the eastern district of Virginia against the five petitioners who sought the cancellation of their six federal trademark registrations protecting the term “Redskins.”  The complaint seeks to have the petitioners’ victory overturned, reinstating the trademarks. In June, a three judge panel, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the team’s six federal trademarks protecting their name, “Redskins.”  The judges…
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