Trademark case over Redskins’ name sent back to lower court

WASHINGTON — The fight over the Washington football team’s trademark of the “Redskins” name is heading back to a lower court.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled Thursday that it would not hear arguments in the case now, given a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that found a ban on offensive trademarks was unconstitutional.

In that case, an Asian-American rock band called The Slants successfully argued a decision to block trademarking of their name violated free speech rights.

The decision gave the Redskins a major boost in their defense of six federally registered trademarks for the team’s name and logos, which the three-judge panel now wants a lower court to consider.

In the lawsuit, the Redskins are seeking to overturn a decision from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that was later upheld by the federal district court judge siding with a group of Native Americans who believe the Redskins trademarks are offensive and should be canceled.

The Redskins case had been on hold last year until the Supreme Court ruling, and the team has said it has no plans to change the name.

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