Redskins in the Supreme Court

The Redskins’ day in court is soon to come — will the Court determine that the name is racist and offensive, and thus not entitled to trademark protection under the Lanham Act?  If so, what’s a Skins fan (or its Napoleonic owner, Dan Snyder) to do? Frankly, I’m amazed the ‘Skins have held on to the name this long, and I am a lifelong fan.  Part of me says it is a testament to the warrior spirit, and thus a compliment, that a football team would choose to name itself after your race or ethnic group — the Fightin’ Irish come to mind.  But “Redskin” is universally seen as a very derogatory term for a Native American, so the “testament to the warrior spirit” argument breaks down, big time. It is interesting to note that the previous attack on the Redskins’ trademark was thrown out as being time-barred under the doctrine of Laches, but the current assault cites Marshak v. Treadwell, a 2001 3rd Circuit opinion which held that the law allows for trademark cancellation “at any time.”  The author of Marshak?  None other than current Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. Could be interesting . . . http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports/Redskins-Trademark-Battle-Goes-to-Supreme-Court-59323632.html and http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/09/challenge-to-redskins-name-reaches-supreme-court.html

2 Responses to “Redskins in the Supreme Court”

  1. Matt Says:

    I read in the City Paper that the reason that the Redskins introduced a “70th Anniversary” throwback jersey in the 2002 season (besides the obvious marketing gimmick) was that Snyder was preparing a contingency plan in case he lost the Lanham case. He would have made the spear logo permanent and renamed the team the Warriors.

  2. He Who PeesNearTree Nurmi Says:

    Is there anyone really offended by this football team calling themselves the Redskins? I think only groups trying to raise money or get attention bring this issue up to the table. Is this football team calling themselves “Redskins” put put down native Americans? I think nope.
    Have you seen our offense? Sam Alito should make a ruling on tat matter.

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