Redskins lose legal benefits of team name, Blackhawks next? - Dallas News |

Redskins lose legal benefits of team name, Blackhawks next?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Washington Redskins have had their share of losses on the field in recent years. Now, they've lost one off the field.

By a two to one vote, judges on a federal trademarks panel decided that the team's trademark registration should be canceled, because it's disparaging of Native Americans.

Chicago attorney Luke DeMarte specializes in trademark law.

“I dont think it was very surprising. I think that the trend of public opinion is moving in this direction, the trademark trial and approval board would have been hard pressed to rule differently,” said DeMarte of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.

The decision does not affect the Redskins logo, and the team can keep using its name. However, it can't be registered as a trademark, meaning the team can't go after others who use it.

Dorene Wiese of the American Indian Association of Illinois said the decision sends a message to other teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I think it really helps us in terms of the movement to get rid of all mascots that really do demean our people,” said Wiese.

The Blackhawks name has generated less controversy, because some see it as honoring an Indian leader. The team offered no comment on the trademark panel's ruling.

“It’s certainly possible that teams like the Blackhawks that have Native American themed names could feel some impact of this going forward, but I think that the real focus on this case is the fact that the term Redskins is recognized by an appreciable number of Native Americans as being a disparaging term,” added DeMarte.

The Redskins said they will appeal the decision to a federal judge, meaning the case could go on for years. In the meantime, they can continue to use the trademarks.

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