U.S. Patent Office cancels Redskins trademark registration

The U.S. Patent Office canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration Wednesday, ruling that the team’s nickname is “disparaging of Native Americans,” ESPN reports.

The 2-1 ruling by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board does not mean the team must change its name, but limits the team’s legal options when others use the logos and the name on merchandise. Federal trademark law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.”

The team is allowed to retain trademark protection during an appeal.

The case was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. The decision is similar to a 1999 ruling by the board that was later overturned. The Redskins name change controversy has drawn more attention in recent years, but Redskins owner Daniel Snyder maintains the name and logo honors Native Americans.