dean bertoncelj /
6 October 2014Trademarks

Washington Redskins turn up pressure on Native Americans

The Washington Redskins have claimed they correctly took legal action against a group of Native Americans in the wake of their trademark dispute over the club’s name.

In a motion lodged at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Friday (October 3), the Redskins said they filed the lawsuit in the correct venue and against the right plaintiffs.

The latest motion is a direct response to the Native Americans’ attempt to dismiss the lawsuit against them—which was filed by the Redskins in August in an effort to reverse the rejection of six trademarks.

In that ruling in June, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) division of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) said the trademarks are disparaging and offensive to Native Americans.

However, the Redskins are still using the name while the resultant lawsuit continues and the club’s owner Daniel Snyder has vowed never to change it.

In their motion to dismiss the case, the defendants have argued that the club does not have the right to the sue them and that it should have taken action against the USPTO.

The Native Americans also argued that the club incorrectly filed the suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and instead should have sought redress in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Now, according to  The Washington Post, the Redskins have said the Native Americans are valid “parties in interest” that can be sued and are “indispensable” to the case.

“Absent their presence, no party with standing would remain before the [TTAB] and this court would be required to vacate the order and dismiss the petition,” the team said in its motion.

Despite the controversial trademarks being granted between 1967 and 1990, the TTAB said in June that the term ‘Redskin’ was still disparaging to a “substantial” portion of Native Americans.

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More on this story

23 September 2014   The group of Native Americans embroiled in a battle with the Washington Redskins football team has asked a court to dismiss a lawsuit that the team filed against it.
15 August 2014   National Football League team the Washington Redskins has filed an appeal against the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB’s) split decision to cancel the side’s trademarks, it said yesterday (August 14).