Based on the reaction to the news that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins federal trademark registrations, I expect to encounter a sea of pop-up stands selling Redskins merchandise on my commute home. Who wouldn’t want to make a quick buck now that hawking T-shirts, hats and banners with the controversial team name is “legal”? Let’s get rich, y’all.
So, who wants to start making knockoff Redskins merchandise with me?
— B in DC (@B_in_DC) June 18, 2014
So I guess this means I can start making my own Redskins merchandise and make some money.
— Dale City (@LRyda42) June 18, 2014
Threat to Redskins losing trademarks: If anyone can make Redskins logo merchandise, royalties could be compromised.
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) June 18, 2014
You can now sell Redskins merchandise with no trade mark consequences, all you have to do is find someone who wants Redskins merchandise. :/
— Bandit (@banditref) June 18, 2014
People are now free to produce Redskins merchandise without compensating the team or the NFL. Question is, who’d want it? #Giants
— Brian Howard (@BrianHoward10) June 18, 2014
Soo the Redskins patent on merchandise was canceled. Who wants to make and sell shirts!
— Brandon Jackson (@BJacks8) June 18, 2014
Get to work, designers and marketers! First person to sell bootleg @Redskins merchandise now that it’s trademark-free and legal wins!
— BlueCornComics (@bluecorncomics) June 18, 2014
Since they lost their trademark I’ll be selling Redskins merchandise on my spreadshirt account lmao
— SiggyGuns (@Siggyv) June 18, 2014
Bout to make a TONNNNN of bootleg RedSkins gear now that they lost the Trademark lol pic.twitter.com/lllRmf7jwa
— TBlake (@TheRealTBlake) June 18, 2014
The government just made all bootleg Redskins gear totally legal, so get out there and steal some of Daniel Snyder’s money! #ThanksObama
— sevenwithcheese (@sevenwithcheese) June 18, 2014
I’m about to capitalize on this Redskins patent revocation & start making bootleg jerseys.
— The Patriot Way (@ThePatriotWay) June 18, 2014
i’m going into business selling bootleg Redskins apparel. it’s legal now http://t.co/6Vxg0ckuUl
— Jerry (@youneedabath) June 18, 2014
Think I’m gonna open a redskins merchandise shop
— Katz (@MikeKatz301) June 18, 2014
Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) seems to think that anyone can sell merchandise without potential legal consequences, but that’s not quite right. The Redskins, who may appeal the decision, retain their federal trademark registrations until all appeals have been exhausted. That process could take years, as it did after the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board canceled the team’s trademark registrations in 1999.
The registrations will be canceled only if the team exhausts all of its appeals and loses on appeal. At that point, the team could continue to use Redskins name and still take legal action against anyone selling Redskins merchandise by exercising its common law rights to the name and logo. In other words, you should think twice about launching that Redskins merchandise business.
Not exactly, Mr. Leader. Redskins retain common law rights to name. MT @hillhulse: Sen Reid says… anyone can now sell team merchandise.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDCNN) June 18, 2014
— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) June 18, 2014
(Thanks to Lindsay — my fiancee and go-to expert on all things trademark law.)
More on the Redskins trademarks: