A trademark application by the Washington Football Team to use the name is in serious jeopardy after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determined that an existing application was too similar.
The Office’s refusal came because it is likely that “consumers will be confused, mistaken or deceived as to the commercial origin of the parties’ goods and / or services”.
The original application required the use of WFT or Washington Football Team for clothing, namely fleece tops and bottoms, headwear, hats as headwear, knitted hats, t-shirts, and other clothing items.
Philip McCaulay is the legal owner of the Washington Football Club brand and owns dozens of others with possible team nicknames.
He has been criticized as a “brand pig” and told ABC News last year that he had offered the National Football League dozen of free tokens of possible DC team names.
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Last July, the organization changed its name from Redskins to Washington Football Team in response to pressure from Native Americans who said the previous nickname was racist and threats from corporate sponsors. Owner Daniel Snyder had previously said he would never change the nickname while he was in control of the team.
The Washington Football team has six months to respond to the rejection or the motion will be withdrawn. The team can either request a resignation, delete the class to which the rejection relates, or provide evidence and arguments against the rejection.
In June 2014, the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled six state trademark registrations for the Redskins because the nickname was “derogatory to Native Americans” and not trademarked under federal law that bans trademark protection in offensive or derogatory language could.