Monday, April 18, 2005

Appellate Court Hears Argument In "REDSKINS" Appeal

On April 8, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument in an appeal from the decision in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo, 68 USPQ2d 1225 (D.D.C. 2003). The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in an appeal from the TTAB by way of civil action under Section 1071(b)(1) of the Trademark Act, granted summary judgment reversing the Board's decision in Harjo v. Pro-Football, Inc., 50 USPQ2d 1705 (TTAB 1999).

Susan Shown Harjo

The TTAB had granted Harjo's petition for cancellation of six registrations for marks containing the word REDSKINS (or a variation thereof) for football entertainment services. It found that the marks "may disparage" Native Americans or "bring them into contempt or disrepute" in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act.

The District Court ruled that the TTAB's finding of disparagement was not supported by substantial evidence, and further ruled that the doctrine of laches precluded consideration of the case.

Wash Redskins

A decision from the Court of Appeals is expected in a few months.

Text ©John L. Welch 2005. All Rights Reserved.


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