So the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has revoked the Washington Redskins’ trademark as being “disparaging.”
I could write all the usual stuff about how silly the ruling is, how it will no doubt be appealed and reversed (as was a similar ruling in 2003), and what a moron the alleged Senator from Nevada is for taking to the Senate floor to demand a change in the name of a football team.
But I have a better one for you.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
That’s right, the NAACP.
It seems that the word “Colored”—which is undeniably more offensive than Redskins—is part of the NAACP acronym that was trademarked in 1979 and has been renewed continuously, most recently in 2011.
Let me give you a slice of the fine print from their website:
Trademarks and Service Marks
There may be a number of proprietary logos, service marks, trademarks, slogans and product designations found on this SITE, including but not limited to: The NAACP name and seal. Other trademarks displayed on this SITE through links to other sites are the property of the respective trademark owners. By making these marks available on this SITE, the NAACP does not confer upon you any of the NAACP’s or any third party’s intellectual property rights. No NAACP trademark may be used as a hyperlink without the NAACP’s prior written permission.
Copyright Trademark Notices
All content of the NAACP’s SITE is: Copyright © 2010 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. All Rights Reserved.
In other words, you can register the acronym containing an offensive name if you are a left-leaning organization that represents the proper political philosophy; but if you run a football team that has had a name for the past 81 years, Harry Reid and Barack Obama can tell you what to do. Or, more correctly, they can let their lackeys in government service tell you what to do.
I’ve never heard Obama say that the NAACP should change its name to the National Association for the Advancement of African Americans, or the NAAAA.
But Harry Reid did say from the floor of the Senate that he wouldn’t be attending Redskins games until they changed their name (which is certainly a great reason not to change the name).
If a significant percentage of the 77,220 fans who attended each Redskins game stopped buying tickets or merchandise in protest, how long do you think they would be named “the Redskins”? The problem is that if every one of those fans decided to not buy a ticket, there are reportedly 150,000 waiting in the wings to take up the slack.
The market speaks very loudly in cases like this.
And I’d be willing to bet that some portion of those names, both those in the stadium each Sunday and those on the waiting list, belong to people of Native American heritage.
How much more of this nonsense are we obligated to put up with?
The fact is that a government panel granting a trademark to a private institution does not imply any imprimatur at all. It’s merely a registration that allows the organization to keep others from using your trademark. From a practical standpoint, the reason we allow the government to make these decisions is precisely to keep this sort of nonsense from happening in the first place. It is, theoretically, a completely disinterested party.
Only that is obviously not true.
The Redskins will appeal this, and they will probably win on the same basis as before. The facts haven’t changed; only the braying morons in high office have.
But if a ruling like this is somehow allowed to stand, it means that the Government has just figured out another way to appropriate private property without paying for it.
Will, for instance, the estate of legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt have its trademark “The Intimidator” revoked (registration 2092602) because the trademark “offends” somebody?
Or perhaps they will revoke the trademark of Obama for America, Inc, the 2012 logo (registration 3541038). I’ll bet a fair poll would show that a much larger number of people in America are “offended” by that than by the Washington Redskins’ name.