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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revoked six registered trademarks owned by the Washington Redskins NFL franchise. This is the latest blow to owner Dan Snyder, who has resisted all critics calling for him to stop using the controversial term for his team’s nickname.
The office ruled that the name is “disparaging to Native Americans,” according to NBC Washington. While the team could lose legal benefits if the decision isn’t appealed, it does not force Snyder to change the team’s name.
The franchise registered the six trademarks between 1967 and 1990, USA Today reports. Petitioners showed evidence proving that the term was disparaging to Native Americans during that time.
Jesse Witten, the attorney for the five Native American petitioners, filed their petition in 2006. “The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans,” Witten told NBC Washington. “The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place.”
Snyder has gone on record as stating that he will never change the team’s name, even if the name lost some trademark protections. But since then, the pressure has continued to built. Fifty U.S. Senators signed a letter, calling for the name to be changed and the Oneida Indian Nation has launched a “Change the Mascot” campaign. An ad also ran during the NBA Finals this month.