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In 1972 the Washington Redskins registered their modern graphical logo, USPTO Registration Number 986668. In their Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. decision, USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board decided it was disparaging at the time it was filed.
That’s interesting because the Second Infantry Division of the US Army has been using a red-skinned man in a feathered headdress for even longer, at least World War II, with a nickname of the “Indianhead Division” going back at least as far back as Korea.
USPTO’s implication of the Army engaging in a slur is wrong, and should not stand.
The USPTO is not only saying that it’s disparaging, but that it was disparaging at the time it was filed. Which means according to them, the Army has been disparaging for a long time. That’s absurd.
Note that one of the core pieces of “evidence” that was used in the case was polling that was taken. Issue polling is something I find incredibly unreliable. Name an issue and a side, and there’s a way to rig the poll to get the outcome you want. So the idea that the government can impugn the integrity of users of this sort of imagery, on the basis of a poll, is unacceptable.
This must not stand. Of course, it’ll likely take a win in the 2016 elections to get it, since the weak and ineffectual Barack Obama is too busy golfing to actually accomplish anything, even if we win the Senate in November and gain the ability to pass legislation over Harry Reid’s insane rantings.
But we have to start working now, and start winning, if we want to be able to start fixing things like this in 2017.