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Trademark board rules against Redskins name

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 9:35 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Alex Brandon)
FILE - In this May 1, 2009 file photo, Washington Redskins Marko Mitchell puts his helmet on during their NFL football minicamp practice at their training facility in Ashburn, Va. Half of the U.S. Senate says it's time to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Forty-nine Democratic senators wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, May 22, 2014. They say racism and bigotry do not belong in professional sports. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Patent Office has ruled the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's federal trademarks for the name must be canceled.

The ruling announced Wednesday comes after a campaign to change the name has gained momentum over the past year.

The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is similar to one it issued in 1999. That ruling was overturned in 2003 in large part on a technicality because the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old.

The new case was launched in 2006 by a younger group of Native Americans. A hearing was held in March 2013.

Just like last time, the Redskins can retain their trademark protection during an appeal.

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