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News & Analysis as of

Could Offensive Trademarks Find Refuge in Common Law?

The 177-page tome the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) just issued in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football Inc. is remarkable for its length and its subject matter, cancellation of the controversial REDSKINS mark as disparaging...more

A Football Team, by Any Other Name…: USPTO Decision Illustrates that Law is More than Hard & Fast Rules

At Meadowlawn Elementary in the 1960s, my West Michigan friends and I would boast about things that made us "better" than each other. It was the golden age of Superman comics and, while I didn't have super strength or x-ray...more

The Redskins Decision: Much Ado About (Probably) Not Much

I’ve been having fun listening to commentators – most of whom appear to know little or nothing about trademark law – expound on last week’s decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to cancel six trademark...more

Workplace Lessons from the NFL—An Interview with Ogletree Deakins Shareholder and Former Offensive Lineman, John Gerak

Until his career was cut short by injury, John Gerak played five seasons as an offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL)—four with the Minnesota Vikings and one with the St. Louis Rams. As an undergraduate,...more

Redskins’ trademark decision ushers in more questions - Cancellation of trademark registration may not have impact some believe

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) most likely knew it was going to generate headlines Wednesday when it issued a monumental decision to cancel six registrations of the...more

A Rose By Any Other Name…

It is rare that items from the United States Patent and Trademark Office are “breaking news” or even make general news headlines. But it happened Wednesday (6/18/14) with the announcement that the Trademark Trial and Appeal...more

Redskins trademark case highlights value of linguistic analysis

The Washington Redskins trademark case, with its conclusion that REDSKINS trademark registrations should be cancelled, has sparked heated discussion among football fans, advocates of Native American interests, and foes of...more

The Redskins Decision: What It Means and Does Not Mean

On June 18, 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB or Board) issued its ruling in Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc. (TTAB Cancellation No. 92046185) cancelling the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations...more

USPTO Cancels Washington Redskins' Trademark Registrations

In a landmark case, the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six trademark registrations associated with the National Football League team, the Washington Redskins, finding that use of the term "redskin" is...more

Redskins Trademark Cancelled – Q&A With Bean, Kinney & Korman

By now, you’ve no doubt heard the news that yesterday (June 18, 2014), the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), an administrative body of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) cancelled the Washington NFL team’s...more

What does the Redskins Cancellation Mean for My Business and Trademarks?

The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently cancelled several Washington Redskins trademarks on the grounds that at the time these marks were registered, they were disparaging or offensive. This means the marks should...more

Let’s Set the Record Straight….the Redskins Still Own the REDSKINS Tradmarks

The overwhelming public reaction to the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June 18 decision canceling six REDSKINS trademark registrations on grounds that the mark disparaged Native Americans has been impressive. However,...more

Trademark Disparagement Kills the R-Word

My father-daughter time was wonderful in London when the news hit about the USPTO ordering cancellation of the six ”Washington Redskins” trademarks as disparaging to Native Americans....more

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Orders Cancellation of "REDSKINS" Trademark Registrations

On June 18, 2014, a divided panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) ordered cancellation of six of the Washington Redskins’ trademark registrations holding that “Redskins” was a...more

TTAB Cancels REDSKINS Trademark Registrations

In a ruling that has quickly spread throughout social media, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued an order cancelling six trademark registrations which contain the word REDSKIN (the “Redskins...more

“REDSKINS” US Trademark Registrations are Canceled for Disparaging Native Americans

A three-judge panel of the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), for the second time and in a 2-1 decision, has held that the REDSKINS trademark used in connection with professional football and related services by the...more

Redskins Trademarks Cancelled - Found Disparaging to Native Americans (Again)

On June 18, 2014, in Amanda Blackhorse et al. v. Pro-Football, Inc., Cancellation No. 92046185 (TTAB 6/18/2014), the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) cancelled six trademark registrations issued between 1967 and 1990...more

And You Thought Your Teenager’s Cell Phone Bill Was High…NFL Team’s Texts Cost $3 Million

Fans everywhere like to complain about their team’s picks in the NFL draft. Maybe their team drafted a quarterback instead of a cornerback, or maybe it fell for that highly overrated prospect. Most such complaints stay safely...more

Three Point Shot - May 2014

Tiger Woods Misses the Cut in Golf Memorabilia Dispute - Tiger Woods skipped The Masters this year for the first time in 20 years because he was recuperating from back surgery. But his back may not be the only source...more

Legal Education and Concussion Injuries

New Law School Course to Discuss Concussion Cases - Concussions and the risks of sports-related traumatic brain injuries have been prominent in the news over the last couple of years. For example, approximately 5,000...more

Heads Up: The Danger of Brain Injury on the Playing Field

In autumn of 2013, the National Football League (NFL) settled a lawsuit brought by retired players for $765 million. In the suit, the players allege the NFL had knowledge of the dangers of suffering repetitive concussion and...more

Sports Law - Feb 25, 2014: Losing Streak: Athletes Seeking Workers’ Comp. In California Suffer Setbacks

Professional athletes seeking to take advantage of California’s historically beneficial workers’ compensation scheme suffered back-to-back defeats to close out 2013. Even as public attention to the long-term effects of...more

2, 4, 6, 8…NFL Cheerleaders Not “Rah Rah-ing” About Pay Rate

Two NFL teams are facing wage and hour class action lawsuits filed by their cheerleaders. On January 22, an Oakland Raiderette sued the Raiders organization on behalf of herself and current and former cheerleaders alleging...more

“Boys Will be Boys” is Out of Bounds in Any Workplace – Even the NFL

I have not followed NFL football for many years, but the recent NFL report about the Miami Dolphins definitely caught my attention. The report, prepared for the NFL by a New York law firm, concluded that Richie Incognito and...more

NFL Cheerleader Cries Foul Over Compensation

Standard contracts that sports franchises, such as the National Football League (NFL), use for independent contractors should be closely scrutinized in the wake of a newly filed class action lawsuit that is shining the...more

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