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Redskins ruling not likely to affect Chief Wahoo

 
Posted Thursday, June 19th 2014 @ 1pm  by By Michael Meszaros and Tom Moore

(Cleveland) - Wednesday's announcement by the U.S Patent Office that the federal trademarks for the name of the NFL's Washington Redskins will be canceled is bringing a lot of reaction, and a lot of questions. The Patent Office says the Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans."

Case Western Reserve University School of Law Associate Professor Aaron Perzanowski says this is more symbolic than anything else.

"The loss of registration would not force the team to change its name. Nor would it strip the team of trademark protection. It would only eliminate the benefits of federal registration, which for a mark as well established as this one are marginal," says Perzanowski. "But this loss does vindicate the Native American opposition to the mark on moral grounds and could contribute to shifting public perception about the appropriateness of its continued use.”

The big question in Cleveland is whether this could affect the name of the Cleveland Indians and the Chief Wahoo logo. Perzanowski says the name and the Wahoo logo are seen by many as disparaging to Native Americans, but not as disparaging as the name 'Redskins.'

As for the Redskins, Perzanokski says this ruling will “unlikely to change the teams’ attitude or approach about keeping this name."

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