A trademark request made by the Washington Football Team for use of the name is in serious jeopardy after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found that a pre-existing application is too similar. The office’s refusal was because it is likely “consumers would be confused, mistaken, or deceived as to the commercial source of the goods and/or services of the parties.”
The original application asked for WFT or Washington Football Team to be used on clothing. Namely, fleece tops and bottoms, headwear, caps being headwear, knit hats, t-shirts, and other apparel. Philip McCaulay is the legal owner of the “Washington Football Club” trademark and owns dozens of others with potential team nicknames. He has been criticized as a being “trademark hog” and told ABC News last year that he offered the National Football League dozens of free trademarks for possible D.C. team names.
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Last July, the organization changed its name from “Redskins” to the Washington Football Team after 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 as long as he was in control of the team.
The Washington Football Team has six months to initiate a response to the refusal, or the application will be abandoned. The team can either ask for a withdrawal, delete the class to which the refusal pertains, or submit evidence and arguments against the denial.
In June 2014, the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled six federal trademark registrations for the Redskins, saying the nickname is “disparaging to Native Americans” and cannot be trademarked under a federal law prohibiting trademark protection on offensive or disparaging language.