July 8, 2014
Did you hear the Washington Redskins “lost” their trademarks last month? And that now anybody can sell commemorative Redskins jerseys without paying royalties to the team? You probably have, but actually, that’s not true.
What did happen is that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued a decision in Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc. to cancel federal registrations for six REDSKINS marks. However this decision does NOT:
- Strip the Redskins of ownership of the REDSKINS marks.
- Stop the Redskins from using the REDSKINS marks in commerce.
- Prevent the Redskins from enforcing the REDSKINS marks against infringers.
In fact, the TTAB decision will not affect the registration of the REDSKINS marks in any way until after the likely appeal of this case is decided.
So, why the confusion?
Some of the misunderstandings about the TTAB decision stem from a lack of familiarity with the TTAB itself. Just what is the TTAB and what is it allowed to do? More importantly, how can the TTAB affect your client’s trademarks?
The Feature Article, Time Out! Just What Is the TTAB Anyway? explains the TTAB and the scope of its authority. The Feature also links to several Practical Law resources to help attorneys whose clients are facing a cancellation or opposition proceeding before the TTAB, and to a discussion of the Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc. decision itself.