Red­skins, rock band bat­tle govern­ment in trade­mark fight

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

WASHINGTON » Si­mon Tam has openly crit­i­cized the Washington Red­skins team name as a racist slur that de­means Na­tive Amer­i­cans.

But Tam and his Asian-Amer­i­can rock band, The Slants, find them­selves on the same side as the NFL fran­chise in a First Amend­ment le­gal bat­tle over trade­mark pro­tec­tion for names that some con­sider of­fen­sive.

The Supreme Court could de­cide as early as this month whether to hear the dis­pute in­volv­ing the Port­land, Ore­gon-area band. And if the foot­ball team has its way, the jus­tices could hear both cases in its new term.

At is­sue is a con­sti­tu­tional chal­lenge to a law bar­ring the U.S. Patent and Trade­mark Of­fice from reg­is­ter­ing trade­marks that dis­par­age mi­nor­ity groups. The of­fice de­nied a trade­mark to the Slants in 2011 after find­ing the name dis­par­aged peo­ple of Asian de­scent.

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