Redskins And 'The Slants' May Team Up At SCOTUS

By Eric Scheiner | April 26, 2016 | 10:52am EDT
A Washington Redskins flag is waved in the end zone. (AP Photo)

The Washington Redskins filed a petition Monday asking the Supreme Court to review its trademark case along with the dance band The Slants.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told the Redskins that the team could not trademark its name because federal law prohibits the registration of anything “immoral, scandalous, or disparaging.” A U.S. Disctrict Court ruling ordered the cancellation of the teams trademark in 2015.

The Slants (seen in the clip below), an Asian-American rock group that had its trademark application rejected for similar reasons won their appeal in December, according to CNN.

In its ruling, the appeals court found that part of the 1946 Lanham Act, which regulates trademarks, violates the First Amendment's protections of free speech.

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that, "The government cannot refuse to register disparaging marks because it disapproves of the expressive messages conveyed by the marks. It cannot refuse to register marks because it concludes that such marks will be disparaging to others." 

The federal government is challenging the ruling in The Slant’s case, asking the Supreme Court to overturn it.

The Washington Redskins made similar arguments against the Lanham act as The Slants, so the team is asking its appeal be heard alongside The Slants’ case in the Supreme Court.

Redskins’ team owner Daniel Snyder says the name is not offensive to Native Americans, but some Native American groups have called for the team to make a name change.

If the Redskins lose trademark protection they can continue to use the name, but it would allow anyone to sell goods with the Redskins name or logo without paying for licensing. 

h/t CNN

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