A few weeks ago, the trademark dispute involving the Washington Redskins was back in the news again, with a federal district court judge ruling in favor of the cancellation of the “Redskins” word mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). While this ruling does not invalidate all of the Redskins trademark rights per se, as we addressed when we discussed the internal USPTO ruling, it does deprive the Redskins of significant rights associated with its word marks (it’s logos and other marks not including the word “Redskins” are not subject to the decision.) So what does the ruling from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in the case of Pro-Football, Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, et al. mean, and what can the Redskins do about it?
What is a contract? More than just an idle or gratuitous promise, a contract arises at law when two or more persons agree to bind themselves to mutual legal obligations by an exchange of “consideration,” or things of value. These things might be performing tasks, providing personal property, or agreeing to provide these things once one or more conditions are met. While parties do not usually have to put a contract in writing for a court to enforce a contract, usually it is a good idea. Here are some simple reasons why.
We have fielded a lot of questions lately on the decision by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to cancel the registrations of six marks belonging to the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. The decision came from the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) on June 18, 2014, after proceedings between the Redskins’ corporate owner and five Native American plaintiffs (full details from the USPTO here.) Since the USPTO released that decision, we have had several people ask us about the decision and how it affects the validity of the Redskins marks. Here are our answers to common misconceptions about the USPTO decision.