Law | National | Sports

Activists ask judge to dismiss Washington NFL team's lawsuit

The logo for the Change the Mascot campaign

Five young Native activists are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Washington NFL team.

In Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc., the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled six of the team's trademarks because they are disparaging to Native people. The team responded by suing the activists in federal court.

But the activists say they aren't the ones who should be sued. The team's complaints lie with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, according to a motion filed in federal court on Monday.

"PFI does not allege a trademark ownership or infringement dispute or assert any other cause of action against the Blackhorse defendants," the motion stated, referring to Pro-Football Inc., the Washington team's legal entity. "Rather, PFI’s dispute is with the USPTO."

The team previously sued Native activists who won a 1999 decision from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel the marks. That case was heard in the federal court in Washington, D.C., but the team chose the federal court in Virginia for its new lawsuit.

Get the Story:
Native Americans seek dismissal of Redskins lawsuit against them in trademark case (The Washington Post 9/23)

Related Stories:
Young Navajo woman leads petition against racist trademarks (07/03)
Opinion: Federal agency decides what is offensive to Americans (6/30)
Native Sun News: Washington team's mascot hits another bump (06/27)
Opinion: Reagans - A perfect name for a perfectly bad NFL team (06/26)
Suzan Shown Harjo: Fight against racist mascots just beginning (06/24)
Kevin Gover: Stereotypes should not be celebrated in America (06/20)
Mike Wise: No winning in fight to save NFL team's racist mascot (06/20)
Ray Cook: Decision sends warning for NFL team's racist mascot (06/20)
Washington NFL team remains defiant after losing trademarks (06/19)
Editorial: Racial slurs don't deserve trademark protection in US (06/19)
Patent office cancels trademarks for Washington football team (06/18)

Join the Conversation