US Patent and Trademark Office Deems 'Redskins' Derogatory

By: Nick Viviani
By: Nick Viviani

WASHINGTON (WIBW) -- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has gotten in on the Redskins name controversy. Specifically, the government agency has rejected a request from a company that wants to sell pork rinds called "Redskins Hog Rinds" because it considered the term "derogatory slang."

In a letter dated Dec. 29, the agency wrote: “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark REDSKINS HOG RINDS consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols.”

More details via CBS Washington:

The same agency is deliberating whether to revoke the trademark protection for the NFL team, part of a long-running challenge from a group of Native Americans. A hearing was held in March, and a decision is expected soon.

Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who has been outspoken on the Redskins name, hopes the recent Patent Office ruling portends change.

“The USPTO ruling sends a powerful message to Washington team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL that in the name of basic decency and respect they should immediately stop spending millions of dollars to promote the R-word,” Halbritter said.

“This is a huge potential precedent-setter rooted in the painfully self-evident truth that the Change the Mascot campaign has been reiterating: The R-word is a dictionary defined slur designed to demean and dehumanize an entire group of people. The federal government was right to declare that taxpayers cannot and should not subsidize the promotion of that slur through lucrative patent protections.”

In October, President Barack Obama told the Associated Press that he would "think about changing" the Redskins team name because it offends “a sizable group of people."

A day later, during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Halbritter said: “As the first sitting president to speak out against the Washington team name, President Obama's comments are truly historic. ... “The NFL and [team owner Dan] Snyder should borrow a page from the President and use the changing of the football team's name as a teachable moment.”

Meanwhile, Snyder made it clear in May that "Redskins" is here to stay.

"We'll never change [it]," he said. "It's that simple. NEVER -- you can use caps."


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