Nov 7, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A Washington Redskins helmet against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Redskins 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Cancelling the Redskins trademark won't stop use of the word

The U.S. Patent office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, meaning that the Redskins name and logo could be used by anyone.  This in turn would make the name a lot less valuable to the team and the NFL.  But this trademark cancellation has happened before and was overturned on appeal.  So will this change anything?

At the moment no, because the Redskins and the NFL will certainly appeal this ruling.  And based on the prior rulings, they probably feel good about their chances of appeal.  Team President Bruce Allen stated he felt the Redskins were fine in light of the ruling by the U.S. Patent Office.  So the team won’t be making any sudden changes any time soon.

Also, for those thinking this is a huge victory in the fight to force the Redskins to change their name, I wouldn’t claim victory so fast.  Because this ruling could actually end up working in reverse for opponents of the name, as it opens it up to be used even more frequently than it was before.

A trademark on the name controlled it’s use, while cancelling the Redskins trademark gives others the ability to use the word with greater frequency.  So in the long run, this might hurt the NFL and the Redskins, but it won’t stop other people from using the word Redskins.  It just might encourage the use of it even more.

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