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Paul Llewellyn Breaks Down the Results of Redskins Trademark Cancellation

June 18, 2014

Inc. reports that the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the trademark of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins due to its disparaging nature toward Native Americans.

According to Kaye Scholer Partner Paul Llewellyn, Co-Leader of the firm’s Trademark, Copyright and False Advertising Practice, the ruling doesn’t mean that the football team has to stop using the name “Redskins.” It only applies to the “right to a federal registration, and not whatever common law rights may exist as a result of use of the name,” he said.

Llewellyn added that business owners have a lot to learn from this situation in dealing with their own imagery. “Think carefully, when selecting business names and marks, about any potential racial, ethnic or similar connotations, and avoid any name or mark that could be interpreted as offensive to a particular group," Llewellyn said.

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