House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) believes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should no longer protect the Washington Redskins’ trademark because the nickname is derogatory.
“We all respect freedom of speech, but the trademark office has rejected names which are considered offensive and they should do it now,” Pelosi told the National Congress of American Indians on Thursday, according to the Huffington Post. “They can keep their name on the team, but when it comes to all the stuff — that’s serious money. So I think that is one path that we can go.”
According to ProFootballTalk, “losing the trademark on the name would allow anyone to print knockoff Redskins gear and cost the team and the league millions of dollars a year in merchandising” and could potentially force Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to “change his mind on the subject if losing the trademark affected the team’s profitability.” Snyder has said that he would “NEVER” change the team’s name, but when his neighbor registered “the Washington Bravehearts” name, it led to speculation that the Redskins could change their name while keeping their logo.
Pelosi said last year that it would be a “good idea” if the Redskins changed their name.
The federal government recently rejected the trademark for Redskins Hog Rinds because it deemed the name to be disparaging and offensive.
“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,” the USPTO explained in rejecting the Redskins Hog Rinds trademark application. “Given that ‘REDSKINS’ in the mark is a derogatory slang term that refers to, and is considered offensive by, American Indians, registration of the applied-for mark must be refused under Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act.”