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Heinrich applauds US Patent Office rejection of Redskins trademark

The U.S. Patent Office canceled six trademark registrations owned by the Washington Redskins professional football team today, prompting a statement of support from Sen. Martin Heinrich.

The New Mexico Democrat said the decision was a “positive step.”

“The U.S. Patent Office took a positive step today toward changing the Washington, D.C. football team’s name,” Heinrich said in a statement provided to the Journal. “Racism and bigotry have no place in professional sports. Our tribal communities have always enhanced New Mexico’s rich culture and traditions. It’s past time for the NFL to change the team’s name.”

According to the Washington Post:

“The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed.

Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The ruling pertains to six different trademarks associated with the team, each containing the word “Redskin.”


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The ruling does not mean that the Redskins have to change the name of the team. It does affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandising because it limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name on T shirts, sweatshirts, beer glasses and license plate holders.”

Here’s a link to the full Post story.

Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., were among 50 senators who signed a letter last month asking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to force the team to change its name. Also, Kevin Washburn, a former UNM law school dean who is now the nation’s top Indian affairs official, said in April that he opposed the name.