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IP Alert UPDATE: Justice Department Concedes Defeat in Redskins Trademark Battle

June 29. 2017

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Matal v. Tam (as reported here), the U.S. Department of Justice has conceded defeat in Pro Football Inc. v. Amanda Blackhorse, the case involving trademarks for the Washington Redskins football team.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had canceled the Redskins’ trademark registrations in June 2014, ruling that the marks were “disparaging to Native Americans” at the time they were registered. In July 2015, the Virginia district court affirmed that ruling, and an appeal has been pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice filed a letter conceding that consistent with the decision in Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court “should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of [the Redskins].”

This filing will likely mark the end of this hotly contested and closely watched trademark dispute.

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