Native Americans Seek Dismissal of Washington NFL Team Name Trademark Suit

A lawyer for the five Native Americans challenging the Washington NFL team over the use of their offensive name, asked federal Judge Gerald Bruce Lee to dismiss the team’s lawsuit against them. The five, who include activist Amanda Blackhorse, insist the defendants are not qualified to be sued in the trademark case because they have no legal or financial motive to control the team’s logo. The activists also say the suit was filed in the wrong courthouse- one in Alexandria, Va. Their attorney Jesse Witten says the case should be dismissed on those grounds. The team filed against the five Native Americans after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determined that the slur is offensive, and thus the team’s right to renew the trademark should be denied.
The team adopted the name in 1933, and their owner Daniel Snyder states he will never change it or the team’s logo and symbols. Forty years later, Larry Casuse, a Native American activist in New Mexico, lost his life in the incident depicted in our feature film Casuse. Many of Casuse’s protests were against campus practices in a college town, or were campus events. Nearly all U.S. colleges no longer use Native American sports team names, logos, or mascots.

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