As an attorney registered for 41 years to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office , I was troubled by the Aug. 15 Metro article “Redskins file lawsuit, fight trademark decision.” Although The Post correctly identified “a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision” in the first paragraph, it misidentified the matter in the next paragraph as a “patent case.” Further showing its ignorance of the difference between a patent and a trademark, The Post went on to refer erroneously to the “patent office,” its ruling or its decision eight more times. The patent side of the office is not handling this case; it is being handled by the trademark side.
Basically, a patent is a right, granted by the government for a limited time, to an inventor to exclude others from making and using his or her invention. The Washington football team’s case has nothing to do with an invention. It has to do with trademarks and service marks, which are names, symbols, slogans or other indicia identifying a product or a service, respectively, officially registered and legally restricted to the manufacturer or service provider, respectively. In the future, I hope that The Post will correct such egregious errors.
Joseph Scafetta Jr., Falls Church