Oral Argument in Redskins Trademark Case Delayed

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By Peter Leung

Oct. 18— Oral argument in the Washington Redskins’ dispute over whether it can keep its trademark registration is delayed until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides a similar case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said in an order Oct. 18 ( Pro-Football, Inc. v. Blackhorse , 4th Cir., order granted 10/18/16 ).

Oral argument was scheduled for Dec. 9 in the appeal of a trial court’s ruling that the “Redskins” name is disparaging and cannot be registered as a trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office.

The team asked for a delay until the high court rules in Lee v. Tam (U.S. 2016) (review granted), another case looking at the constitutionality of the ban on disparaging trademark registrations.

In Lee, the PTO denied an Asian American band's registration of its name, the Slants, on the grounds that it was a disparaging term for Asians. The Supreme Court is reviewing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s ruling that the provision is an unconstitutional violation of free speech (190 PTD, 9/30/16).

The Washington football team, in its request for a delay, said that if the Supreme Court affirms the Federal Circuit's ruling, it “may dispose of this case in its entirety.”

Arnold & Porter LLP represents the Redskins.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Leung in Washington at pleung@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at mwilczek@bna.com

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