Early this morning, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel registration of the Washington Redskins’ trademark, where he ruled that the team name may be disparaging to Native Americans.
Judge Lee’s ruling affirms an earlier finding by an administrative appeal board.
In his 70-page ruling, Lee emphasized that the organization is still free to use the name if it wishes, but they would just lose some legal protections that go along with federal registration of a trademark.
Back in 2014, the team sued to overturn a ruling against it by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, where they argued that cancellation of its trademark infringed on its free-speech rights because it required the government to judge whether the name is offensive.
Even though the Redskins lost in the federal district court, they have the opportunity to appeal to the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
The battles may have been lost, but the war may not yet be over in this story.