By Kristen Carpenter and Carla Fredericks
The Denver Post recently weighed in on the controversy surrounding the National Football League’s team in Washington, D.C. The Post wrote, “Although the Redskins name ought to be retired, it shouldn’t occur at the expense of the First Amendment.”
We believe the case was decided properly, in our view, as a matter of federal trademark law and does not impact free speech.
The federal court in Blackhorse vs. Pro-Football, Inc., canceled six trademarks registered to the Pro-Football corporation. The federal Lanham Act prohibits registration of marks that “may disparage … persons living or dead.”
The court held the team’s marks, including the word “r–skin” and related images, refer in a vulgar and offensive way to American Indians, thereby violating the act.
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