Philadelphia partner and chair of the firm’s Public Interest Committee Wilson Brown was quoted in Bloomberg Business following the firm’s victory at the U.S. District Court in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse.
On July 8, District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee ruled that the Washington NFL team’s trademarks were ineligible for registration under federal trademark law because they disparage Native Americans.
Wilson told Bloomberg that the firm’s involvement in the case, which is pro bono, began in 2003 when the firm agreed to take on an appeal in an earlier case, Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo, that had been brought to cancel the “Redskins” trademark. After several years of litigation, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the doctrine of laches, or the passage of time, barred the suit, because the plaintiffs waited too long to sue. The Blackhorse petitioners, who were younger, initiated their own proceedings to challenge the registrations to avoid a similar outcome and have now prevailed.