Law | Sports

Indian plaintiffs file papers in effort to end 'Redskins' trademarks





A group of young Indian activists filed papers seeking to cancel trademarks held by the Washington Redskins.

The plaintiffs say "Redskins" is a racial slur that disparages Indian people and brings them into contempt and disrepute. A brief shows how the term has been used in a derogatory manner in media, film, books and in public discourse.

In a prior case, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which is part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, canceled the trademarks but the team challenged the decision in federal court. Without ruling on the merits, the courts said the plaintiffs -- led by activist Suzan Shown Harjo -- waited too long to file their complaints.

However, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals left open the possibility that people who weren't alive at the time the trademarks were first registered could challenge them.

The case is Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc.

Get the Story:
Legal battle over Redskins’ name continues (The Washington Post 9/6)

DC Circuit Decision:
Pro Football, Inc. v. Harjo, Suzan (May 15, 2009)