Headline - 06/18/2014

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Cancels Washington NFL Team’s Trademark Registrations

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favor of the petitioners in Blackhorse v. Pro -Football, Inc,  a landmark case that Drinker Biddle & Reath filed in 2006 on behalf of five Native Americans seeking to cancel trademark registrations of the “Washington Redskins” because the use of the term “redskins” disparages Native Americans.    The case is the culmination and vindication of a multi-decade effort by Native Americans and others who object to the team’s name as derogatory and offensive.

“We are extraordinarily gratified to have prevailed in this case,” said Alfred W.  Putnam, Jr., Chairman of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.  “The dedication and professionalism of our attorneys and the determination of our clients have resulted in a milestone victory that will serve as an historic precedent,” Putnam said.

The five petitioners, Amanda Blackhorse, Phillip Gover, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Jillian Pappan and Courtney Tsotigh, came together eight years ago to seek the cancellation of six different trademarks associated with the Washington NFL team.  The federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.”  

“The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans.  The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” said Jesse Witten, the lead Drinker Biddle partner litigating this case.  “We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”  Witten added.  “This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm.”

To read the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's decision, please click here.

In The News - 08/26/2014

Drinker Biddle Partners Tom Dawson, Bob Juelke and Joe Seiler Participate in Insurance Insider Bermuda Roundtable

Bob, Tom and Joe participated in a roundtable discussion with key underwriters and brokers from Bermuda to discuss the state of the insurance market and other key issues affecting the industry.

View Full Story

News - 08/26/2014

Jesse Witten Quoted in Report on Medicare Compliance

Jesse commented on a settlement entered into by a national hospital company accused of billing for inpatient claims that should have been billed as outpatient.

View Full Story

In The News - 08/26/2014

Fred Reish Quoted in ThinkAdvisor

Fred commented on topic of brokerage windows.

View Full Story

News - 08/26/2014

Bob Stoll Article Published in Law360

Bob’s article discussed new procedures to the patent system.

View Full Story

News - 08/22/2014

Brad Campbell Quoted in Investment News

Brad was quoted in Investment News in an article titled, “DOL eyes brokerage windows in 401(k) plans.”

View Full Story

News - 08/18/2014

Washington Post Notes Creation of District Policy Group Advisory Board

The article was published in the Capital Business section on Sunday afternoon.

View Full Story