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Young Natives to file new complaint on 'Redskins'

Six young Native Americans will file a new petition on Friday seeking to cancel the trademarks of the Washington "Redskins" football team.

The six Natives, ranging in age from 19 to 24, are asking the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel any "Redskins" marks. They are citing a federal law that prohibits registration of names that are "disparaging" to a particular group of people or names that may bring those people into "disrepute."

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals paved the way for the new complaint. In a suit over the name, the court said Native people who hadn't reached the age of 18 by the time the marks were registered could pursue their claims.

At the same time, the court dismissed the claims of Native activists, saying they waited too long to challenge the "Redskins" marks.

"Why should laches bar all Native Americans from challenging Pro-Football�s 'Redskins' trademark registrations because some Native Americans may have slept on their rights?" the court said in July 2005.

Suzan Harjo, a Cheyenne/Muscogee activist who was one of the original complainants, will announce the suit tomorrow from Tulsa, where she is attending the Native American Journalists Association conference. A press conference in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to be held with the young Natives.

Get the Story:
Petition seeks to cancel 'Redskins' trademark (Indian Country Today 8/9)

William "Lone Star" Dietz Research:
Linda Waggoner: Reclaiming James One Star (Indian Country Today 2004)

Appeals Court Decision:
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo (July 15, 2005)

Lower Court Decision:
Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo (September 30, 2003)

Patent and Trademark Office Ruling:
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (1999)

Relevant Links:
Redskins -

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