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Washington football case making waves across the country

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2020 | Intellectual Property

The National Football League (NFL) is the most popular sports league throughout the United States. Accordingly, any big news relating to one of America’s favorite pastime tends to make waves nationally. While some of the biggest news lately surrounds the Redskins football team in Washington, D.C., the issue has raised intellectual property questions that are being examined from coast to coast.

For decades, the Washington team has been known as the Redskins. However, the team recently announced that they are going to retire the controversial nickname and pick a new one. There had been talk about this subject for years, and owner Dan Snyder has always been against it. However, team sponsors are starting to back out. Now, it’s clear that change is inevitable.

That’s where things get interesting. A man from Virginia has spent the last six years trademarking every name that he can think of that may be selected as the next nickname for the team. He now owns that intellectual property, and the team may have to buy it from him if they want to use one of the names that he trademarked.

Washington hasn’t announced its new name yet, but the man thinks they may go with one of these four that he owns: RedHawks, Renegades, Red Tails ,or Americans. It’s also worth noting that “Warriors” is in the mix, although the man does not own that trademark.

This practice is referred to as trademark squatting, and it can impact more than just the NFL. Any business can find that someone in the state has trademarked a name in advance for the purpose of licensing it out in the future. It’s important for any business potentially involved to understand the legal position this puts them in.