Today, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the Trademark for the NFL Washington Football Team, in the case of: Blackhorse v. NFL Football, Inc. The Trademark was cancelled because a it is prohibited by Law from being disparaging to any Person or Group.
The cancellation can be appealed, which had happened one time before. In the previous Appeal, the cancellation was overturned by a Federal Court. The political environment today, however, doesn’t seem to be in favor of a reversal. The Team may continue to use the Name and Logo; however, it cannot block others from doing so, as well. An article from The Guardian (UK), which provides more information on the cancellation, is linked as follows: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/jun/18/washington-redskins-lose-trademark-team-us-patent-office.
The official web site for the NFL Washington Football Team is as follows: http://www.redskins.com. There has been some discussion on TV, comparing this situation to the recent brouhaha regarding the NBA L. A. Clippers Basketball Team. In that instance, a number of large corporate sponsors withdrew their financial support for the Team.
It will be interesting to see if there will be any carry-over to other Teams, whether Professional or College. In some cases, such as the Cleveland Indians Baseball Team, the name might not be offensive; but, the logo of a Looney Indian, with the name of “Chief Wahoo” might be. Others, like the Florida State Seminoles and the Fighting Illini, of the University of Illinois, might not be considered offensive. I believe the provision that a Trademark not be “Disparaging to any Person or Group” might be the key test in future cases.