Attorneys for Native Americans Ask Federal Judge to Dismiss Washington R*dskins’ Lawsuit

By Whitney Robinson, Associate Editor Vol. 20

On Friday, October 31, lawyers for the five Native American tribes fighting the Washington R*dskins over the team’s name and trademark protections asked a federal judge in Alexandria, VA to dismiss the team’s lawsuit against them.

According to the attorneys for the Native Americans, the R*dskins should not be suing their clients in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria because they are not the proper “parties of interest,” because “they don’t have any legal or economic interest in controlling the R*dskins name as a rival business might.”

Bob Raskopf, one of the team’s attorneys, countered the tribes’ argument, saying that Native Americans are in fact the right people to sue.  According to Raskopf, the patent and trademark board would never have stripped the team’s protections if not for the tribes.  Additionally, argued Raskopf, Congress gives the Native Americans standing to be parties in the case, even if they lack economic or legal interest in owning the team’s trademark.

This past summer, the Washington R*dskins filed a motion defending their lawsuit against five Native American tribes over the team’s trademark protections.  The filing was in response to a motion to dismiss the case by the Native American groups who won a decision by the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  The board held that the team’s name and logos are disparaging to Native Americans, and canceled the Washington R*dskins’ trademark.

Until a final ruling is made in the lawsuit, the R*dskins get to hold on to their trademark protections.  However, if the federal judge in Alexandria dismisses the case, the R*dskins may just lose their last chance to appeal the trademark board’s ruling.  According to Raskopf, if the judge does dismiss the case, he would then request that the patent and trademark office serve as a substitute so the case can go forward.

Apparently the team is not going to give up its extremely disparaging logo and racist name without putting up a solid fight.

Full Story:

Further reading

R*dskins’ motion defending suit against Native Americans:

When and why it is offensive to a Native American tribe for a sports team to use its name: