Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pro-Football Seeks Section 1071 Review of TTAB's "REDSKINS" Decision in E.D. Va. District Court

On August 14th, Pro-Football, Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, seeking Section 1071(b)(1)  review of the TTAB's "REDSKINS" decision of June 18, 2014 [TTABlogged here]. As you know, a divided Board panel granted a petition for cancellation of six registrations owned by Pro-Football for marks comprising or containing the word REDSKINS, for entertainment services, finding that the marks, at their respective dates of registration, disparaged Native Americans. A pdf of the complaint may be downloaded here.

In its complaint, Pro-Football argues that the TTAB's decision " is replete with errors of fact and law, including its failure to restrict its analysis to the relevant time frame of 1967-1990, when the registrations were first issued." Pro-Football also claims that the decision violates the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution, and that laches bars the claims of the petitioners.

In September 2011, the America Invents Act changed the applicable venue for Section 1071(b)(1) actions, when adverse parties reside in a plurality of districts. Previously, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was the proper venue, but the AIA amended that to the Eastern District of Virginia. Of course, the previous round of litigation over the REDSKINS trademark had involved the District of Columbia district court (the Harjo decisions).

Ron Coleman, prominent trademark blogger and attorney for THE SLANTS in its appeal from another TTAB disparagement ruling [TTABlogged here], provides his interesting comments on Pro-Football's complaint and the REDSKINS case in general, here at his Likelihood of Confusion blog.

Read comments and post your comment here.

TTABlog note:  If you were a betting person, where would you put your money?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2014.


At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Joe Dreitler said...

I'm not a betting man, but if I was, my bet would be that this is not the last tribunal to hear this matter, regrettably.

At 3:54 AM, Anonymous Rob said...

Hopefully, an appeals court or the supremes would put the Board's horrific PC-enforcing case law out of its misery.


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