Congressman introduces bill that would ban trademarks on 'Redskins'

Wednesday February 4th, 2015

Rep. Michael Honda (D-Calif.) introduced a bill on Wednesday that seeks to ban "existing and future federal trademarks for any sports team that uses the term, 'Redskins,'" according to The Washington Post

The bill is titled "The Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act" and wants to bar federal protection of trademarks of the name. While it would apply to all sports teams, Honda said it targets the Washington Redskins.  

"It is unbelievable to me that, in the 21st century, a prominent NFL franchise is calling itself by a racial slur," Honda said. "Team names should not be offensive to anyone. Allowing trademark protection of this word is akin to the government approving its use. Removing that trademark will send a clear message that this name is not acceptable."

BARSHOP: Youth leagues also wrestling with Redskins nickname

Last June, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled six uses of "Redskins" trademarked from 1967 to 1990 after a group of five Native Americans led a campaign against the franchise's trademark protection. The patent office explained its ruling by saying that the Redskins name is "disparaging of Native Americans."

Washington announced in August that it would appeal the ruling, and last month the Justice Department intervened in the team's trademark protection lawsuit.

Last May, 50 senators signed a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to change the name. The letter was endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 

- Molly Geary

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