The USPTO has not asked for the NFL team to change its name or its logo. It has not filed any cases against the Washington Redskins. No fines were issued, no arrests were made. But what it has done is to conclusively wash its hands off the responsibility of protecting the team’s trademarks and logo against any future patent claims, patent lawyers in the city said.
The name ‘Redskins’ contains a racial slur, and hence the USPTO has decided that it will not lend its powers to the Washington based football team in defending its rights to use the racially derogatory term anymore. The Redskins brand is therefore in big trouble unless Dan Snyder decides to change the name of the team pronto or get a court to overrule the decision.
Of Government Plots, and Socially Conscious Citizens
The USPTO’s decision to withdraw support from the Redskins brand supposedly came from nowhere, and has sparked many controversies and conspiracy theories. When President Obama declared his loathing for the team name, it immediately caused a furor among industry watchers with many claiming that the ‘Obama Administration’ and its left wing politics had much to do with the patent office’s decision.
Later, news reports came out stating that the patent office had in fact not received a single complaint against the team name and had acted entirely on its own discretion. The Redskins patent lawyers’ team had anticipated this very verdict with patent attorney Bob Raskopf saying that the current case was no different than the previous case where the team’s trademark registrations were cancelled until a federal court overruled the decisions.
The USPTO is Politically Correct
The controversial team name has drawn the ire of many public agencies (who are also politically correct) in the past with many notable names going on record to say that they hoped the name would be changed. But as far as the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is concerned, the ruling has come without any noticeable protests from the public reaching the office. Patent attorneys have said that this action by the trial board is highly unprecedented, but have decided to wait and watch for now.
Plaintiff’s Lawyers Defend Decision
The main plaintiff in the case was Amanda Blackhorse, a native Navajo Indian, who along with four others asked for the trial board to take up the Redskins’ case. The patent lawyers representing Ms. Blackhorse have conclusively stated that though there were no correspondences between the USPTO and the general public, it is only natural. The USPTO’s regimented procedures do not have space for public opinions, according to Ms. Blackhorse’s’ patent lawyers and they said that unlike regulatory rule makings where the public is usually consulted prior to rule change the patent office was within its rights to do things differently.
Most American Indians have no Issue with the Name Redskin
The NFL team has not announced whether it is going to change the team name. The Redskins’ patent lawyers are in fact repealing the decision. They are hoping for a repeat of 2003 when a federal court had over ruled a similar ruling stripping the team of its patent rights.
When to Consider a Provisional Patent Application
In most situations inventors prefer to continue working on an invention even though they want to protect it. There may be several changes as a result of research and development. In many cases, some seek to obtain a patent pending status prior to engineering drawings and intermediate prototypes. In such a scenario, it is not possible to describe everything in a patent application since the invention is not complete. This is why it is prudent to apply the 75-25 rule to drafting a provisional patent application.
Filing a provisional patent as soon as the invention is tangible enough to describe is recommended. As improvements are made, another provisional patent application can be filed through your patent attorney. Provisional patent applications are the ideal alternative when you have something that needs protection now but need more time to continue working on refining the invention.