by Jon Gerardi of Daily Item
Redskins -- over the line?
Editor's note: This column is the first installment of a two-part series.
I applaud Robert Roche. Finally someone wants to address the elephant in the room.
For those unaware, Roche, the executive director of the American Indian Education Center, is attempting to bring a federal case against the Cleveland Indians, suing on the grounds that its Chief Wahoo logo is racist.
Which it is, there's no doubt about it. Just look at it: a clownish caricature of a Native American with bright red skin and a goofy smile.
Unfortunately, somehow this lawsuit by Roche didn't make national news like the US Patent & Trademark Office's decision to cancel six of the Washington Redskins trademarks on the ground that they were "disparaging to Native Americans" this past month.
Maybe you'll claim that I am slightly biased due to my family growing up as diehard Washington Redskin fans, but what the USPTO did was nothing short of sheer hypocrisy.
United States federal law states that no trademark shall be refused registration unless it violates one of the subsections of Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which "consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connect with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute."
In short: an offensive trademark that is disparaging toward a group of individuals. That, in addition to petitions, was a big reason the Redskins' trademarks got cancelled.
Washington had its trademark cancelled due to its "offensive nature," but the USPTO has not done anything about Chief Wahoo.
When I contacted the USPTO and asked directly how many trademarks for Chief Wahoo are still active, they sent me registration numbers for its four trademarks. I bluntly asked how Chief Wahoo can stay when "Redskins" is deemed too far; the USPTO simply responded with a runaround that the Redskins case has no bearing on the Cleveland Indians or Chief Wahoo...Click Here to read the entire article
Posted on July 19, 2014
by Brandon Eaton filed under