The dispute over the Washington Redskins trademarks has been ongoing for more than 15 years. It’s current form is a petition for cancellation before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board with a set of plaintiffs that are different from the proceeding before the Board in the late 1990’s. In that case, the TTAB had found for cancellation of the contested trademark registrations, finding them disparaging. But on appeal to a district court, the TTAB’s finding was overruled, in part because the court found that the plaintiffs had waiting too long to bring their claim. The court then went up on appeal and back down the District Court and back up to the District of Columbia Circuit Court. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Then a new case was filed at the TTAB with a new set of younger plaintiffs. The parties stipulated to many evidenciary procedures allowing for the use of much of the evidence from the prior proceeding. The TTAB case has now reached the “testimony” phase and the parties have submitted their evidence (the Plaintiffs may still submit rebuttal evidence). The plaintiffs submitted more than 7,000 pages: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92046185&pty=CAN&eno=47
The Redskins (Pro Football, Inc.) have submitted a lot of evidence as well: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92046185&pty=CAN&eno=127
Almost all of the evidence of both the parties is from the prior proceeding. Both parties have submitted excerpts of depositions that took place more than 15 years ago, including the deposition of Jack Kent Cook , then the owner of the team, and many competing definitions and articles referencing the term ‘redskin.’ The Redskins did take the depositions of the new plaintiffs.
As a result of the documents and the depositions, the Board will have many thousands of pages to review in this matter. If an oral hearing is requested, it will certainly attract a lot of coverage.
Regardless of the decision of the TTAB – which could still be years away – the case of course could be appealed again.