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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Washington Football's Trademark Defense Is So Vulgar It's Silly


Washington's football club is facing third and long in their desperate attempt to save their canceled "Redskins" trademark, but alluding to their latest defense as a "Hail Mary" play would probably offend actual nuns who literally hail the Virgin Mary.


Why? Because Washington football's defense for keeping their disparaging Native American slur as a registered trademark invokes products like a "Slutsseeker" dating service, "Gringo Style" salsa, "Dangerous Negro" shirts and "Take Yo Panties Off" clothing. Seriously.


Following a federal judge's July approval of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeals Board's 2014 decision to cancel the trademark, Washington football is continuing to exhaust all federal means of appeal, with Friday's court filing revealing a vulgar new strategy.


As Washington's lawyers argue in their opening brief for a court of appeals hearing on the status of the "Redskins" trademark, these names are currently protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. So, the thinking goes, theirs should be too.


Washington's lawyers didn't stop at those products though. In their brief, provided by The Washington Post, they seemingly list every single offensively named product that has a registered trademark.



The PTO has registered hundreds if not thousands of marks that the Team believes are racist, or misogynistic, vulgar, or otherwise offensive. By way of example only, the following marks are registered today: TAKE YO PANTIES OFF clothing; DANGEROUS NEGRO shirts; SLUTSSEEKER dating services; DAGO SWAGG clothing; DUMB BLONDE beer; TWATTY GIRL cartoons; BAKED BY A NEGRO bakery goods; BIG TITTY BLEND coffee; RETARDIPEDIA website; MIDGET-MAN condoms and inflatable sex dolls; and JIZZ underwear. These are not isolated instances. The government routinely registers pornographers’ marks: TEENSDOPORN.COM, MILFSDOPORN.COM, THUG PORN, GHETTO BOOTY, and BOUND GANGBANGS are but a few.



And even these:



No one today thinks registration reflects government approval. But if this Court holds that it does, how will the government explain registrations like MARIJUANA FOR SALE, CAPITALISM SUCKS DONKEY BALLS, LICENSED SERIAL KILLER, YID DISH, DIRTY WHOOORE CLOTHING COMPANY, and MURDER 4 HIRE?[4]



And finally, the worst of the lot -- deemed unprintable by newspaper standards.



Other startling examples that would reflect government endorsement under the decision below include: SHANK THE B!T@H board game; CRACKA AZZ SKATEBOARDS; ANAL FANTASY COLLECTION, KLITORIS, and OMAZING SEX TOYS sex toys; HOT OCTOPUSS anti-premature ejaculation creams; OL GEEZER wines; EDIBLE CROTCHLESS GUMMY PANTIES lingerie; WTF WORK? online forum; MILF WEED bags; GRINGO STYLE SALSA; MAKE YOUR OWN DILDO; GRINGO BBQ; CONTEMPORARY NEGRO, F’D UP, WHITE TRASH REBEL, I LOVE VAGINA, WHITE GIRL WITH A BOOTY, PARTY WITH SLUTS, CRIPPLED OLD BIKER BASTARDS, DICK BALLS, and REDNECK ARMY apparel; OH! MY NAPPY HAIR shampoos; REFORMED WHORES and WHORES FROM HELL musical bands; LAUGHING MY VAGINA OFF entertainment; NAPPY ROOTS records; BOOTY CALL sex aids; BOYS ARE STUPID, THROW ROCKS AT THEM wallets; and DUMB BLONDE hair products. Word limits prevent us from listing more.



While many think Washington football's continued attempts to save their trademark are reprehensible, this latest defense is admittedly clever. The team, working with the federal government's legal decision that "Redskins" is an offensive term, is forcing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to explain why ownership of their awful name is unacceptable but a whole host of other offensive names aren't. It's a fair legal question to raise, especially given the rarity of Washington football's canceled trademark.


In fact, since 1870, over three million trademarks have been registered, and we have found none that have ever been canceled for being disparaging," said team spokesman Maury Lane in a statement to The Washington Post. "We believe that the government’s action tramples core principles of free speech and sets a dangerous precedent for other brands.”


Equating the name of an NFL franchise, however, with "Dumb Blonde" beer in an effort to justify the team name seems like a dangerous precedent for the league. While the legal and First Amendment rights questions get sorted out in court, the NFL should be concerned that one of its most storied clubs is stooping down to highlighting racist frat-boy language.


Just change the damn name.



Also On HuffPost:


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