A federal judge has ordered the Patent and Trademark Office to cancel registration of the Washington Redskins’ trademark, ruling that the team name may be disparaging to Native Americans.
The ruling Wednesday by Judge Gerald Bruce Lee affirms an earlier finding by an administrative appeal board.
In his 70-page ruling, Lee emphasized that the organization is still free to use the name if it wishes — the team would just lose some legal protections that go along with federal registration of a trademark.
The team had sued to overturn a ruling against it by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The team argued that cancellation of its trademark infringed on its free-speech rights because it required the government to judge whether the name is offensive.
The organization can appeal.
The Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced a boycott of FedEx last month because of the business’s sponsorship of the team.