WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — There will be no trademark for “Redskins Hog Rinds,” a bad omen for the Washington Redskins in the legal battle over their name.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a request from a company to sell pork rinds using the word “Redskins” because it deemed the term to be “derogatory slang.”
In a letter dated Dec. 29, the agency wrote: “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark REDSKINS HOG RINDS consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols.”
The same agency is deliberating whether to revoke the trademark protection for the NFL team, part of a long-running challenge from a group of Native Americans. A hearing was held in March, and a decision is expected soon.
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who has been the most vocal opponent of the team’s name, is hoping the forthcoming ruling will be fortuitous.
“The USPTO ruling sends a powerful message to Washington team owner Dan Snyder and the NFL that in the name of basic decency and respect they should immediately stop spending millions of dollars to promote the R-word,” said Halbritter. “This is a huge potential precedent-setter rooted in the painfully self-evident truth that the Change the Mascot campaign has been reiterating: The R-word is a dictionary defined slur designed to demean and dehumanize an entire group of people. The federal government was right to declare that taxpayers cannot and should not subsidize the promotion of that slur through lucrative patent protections.”