June 18, 2014

Wanted: Your new name for the #Redskins

For illustrative purposes only. As content on blogs is generally
considered opinion, Dan Snyder & the Washington Redskins
have no enforceable authority for this to be removed. Ditto if
I Photoshopped a "Washington Palefaces" helmet, etc.
Now that Danny Boy Snyder and the Washington Redskins have lost a suit in the U.S. Patent Office — a ruling that, if upheld, means all of his team's trademarks of the "Redskins" are null and void — maybe the name will be changed to something else.

The team thinks it will win that appeal:
"We are confident we will prevail once again, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board's divided ruling will be overturned on appeal," team attorney Robert Raskopf said in a statement. "This case is no different than an earlier case, where the Board cancelled the Redskins' trademark registrations, and where a federal district court disagreed and reversed the Board."
However, the early case's overturning was on a technicality, not "merits." The legal concept is known as "laches." That technicality doesn't seem to be an issue in the new suit, according to a good overview by Vox. Actually, since I looked on Wiki, per the link for "laches," it could still apply, in a vacuum. As for the "you weren't offended enough" part of the district court's ruling in 2004, on the 1999 case? In the real world, the cultural and social landscape in the US on such issues has changed a lot in 15 years. And, the plaintiffs have a lot more evidence to present this time.

Given the likelihood the ruling sticks this time, and the way the mouth-breathers are already populating sports websites' discussion of this issue, I'm lining up suggested name changes.

No. 1?
"Washington Wingnuts."  It even has alliteration. Wouldn't make for the best logo, though.


No. 2?
"Washington Palefaces." It's got the petard-hoisting angle. Helmet would have a pasty-faced Snyder as logo, mayhaps.

No. 3?
"Washington Rednecks." Keeps the "red" in the name, hoists the petard higher than the "Palefaces" does. Would satisfy wingnuts because a stereotypical picture of one of their own would be the new logo.

No. 4? 
"Washington Gasbags." Snyder could put Rush Limbaugh on the helmets. Or Glenn Beck, if he wanted a younger angle.

No. 5?
"Washington Lobbyists." After all, who's the biggest winner in DC? Dollar bill on helmets presages the NFL eventually having NASCAR-style unis.

No. 6?
"Washington Snyders." Danny Boy's wet dream comes true.

No. 7?
"Washington Hymies." The offensiveness issue punches Snyder right in the personal nut sack.

Anyway, if you've got anything else, write it in.

I'll even accept comments from wingnuts just for the fun of rejecting them like a weak Dwyane Wade layup.

As for what this ruling would mean when upheld? Other people could not only sell items with a straight-up Redskins logo without violating copyright. They could sell stuff with something like my "No" slash through it, or worse. And, Danny Boy, since "Redskins" would no longer be trademarked, couldn't win a copyright suit OR a product disparagement suit. 

That said, in a good explainer, near the bottom, Sports on Earth links Forbes to say that Danny Boy could sue under state laws or common law statutes. State courts in non-mouthbreathing areas would surely rule against him, though,  unless a state law very, very explicitly compelled a ruling otherwise.

As for what's at stake financially?

A quick teh Google says, without the Dallas Cowboys counted separately, since Jethro Jerry Jones finagled himself out of revenue sharing, that the NFL sold $2 billion-with-a-B of merchandise in 2010. Since the Redskins are fairly popular, I'll divide by 30 rather than 32, and round up just slightly. That's $67 million gross in Redskins money; at a 10 percent profit for licensing fees, that's $6.7 million, as a guesstimate. Now, that said, would they lose all of that? No, Danny Boy would, if he wants to keep fighting, stamp an "Authorized Washington Redskins™ logo on products that were still paying him for the branding, and appeal to mouthbreathers to "stick it to liberals" and diehards to buy only "authorized." But, would he lose half of that? I think that's reasonable.

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