Trademark board hears dispute over Washington Redskins name

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is once again being asked to cancel marks registered to the Washington Redskins professional football team.

Suzan Shown Harjo, the president of the Morning Star Institute, and other Indian activists won a decision in 1999 that canceled the marks. The TTAB determined that the use of the word "Redskins" disparages Indian people and brings them into contempt and disrepute.

After a lengthy court battle, the ruling was overturned but not on the merits. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said most of the plaintiffs waited too long to challenge the marks, which were first registered in 1967.

But the court left open the possibility for a new challenge from plaintiffs who weren't alive when the marks were first registered. So a new generation has taken up the case, Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc.

''They're trying to make money, and not caring who is injured in the process - or if anyone is injured in the process. I don't think they wake up or go to sleep dreaming of ways to hurt Native people. I think they wake up and go to sleep thinking of ways to make money - off hurting Native people," Harjo told the Associated Press.

Get the Story:
Trademark judges to hear new case vs Redskins name (AP 3/7)

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