Washington seeks to overturn ruling on team’s name
Ashburn, Va. • The Washington Redskins on Thursday formally appealed a ruling that stripped the team of trademark protection, the latest legal maneuver in the franchise’s attempt to defend its name against those who consider it a racial slur.
The team announced that it had filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and that it "points out the many errors" in the decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board voted 2-1 on June 18 to cancel the name, saying it’s "disparaging of Native Americans."
"We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision," team lawyer Bob Raskopf said in the team’s statement.
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The team had previously said it would appeal the ruling and had two months to do so. The trademark protection remains in place while the matter makes its way through the courts, a process that could take years.
A similar ruling by the trademark board in 1999 was overturned on a technicality in 2003. Native Americans have been challenging the trademark since 1992.
The team said it will ask the court to consider "serious constitutional issues," including whether the ruling penalizes the team’s right of free speech and whether the team has been unfairly deprived of "valuable and long-held intellectual property rights."
The group of five Native Americans challenging the name is equally confident.
"This effort is doomed to fail," said Amanda Blackhorse, the lead plaintiff. "But if they want to prolong this litigation which has already gone on for 22 years, I guess they have that prerogative."
Buffalo Bills could be crossing the border
A Buffalo Bills fan group uncovered documents that suggest a Toronto-based prospective ownership group has plans to relocate the franchise north of the border.
In a release issued Thursday, the Buffalo Fan Alliance identified several announcements referring to Rogers Communications consultant, Roger Rai, as part of the ownership group "attempting to acquire and move the Buffalo Bills to Toronto."
Rai told The AP on Wednesday he’s not involved with the group’s ownership bid.
He added the references connecting him to the proposed Bills’ purchase were "a mistake on my behalf," and the result of a misinterpretation made by a co-worker who wrote the biography.