A Virginia judge ordered Wednesday that the Washington Redskins’ trademark registrations be cancelled – the biggest legal defeat the team has suffered in its two-decade battle over its name.
The ruling ends a legal saga that began when the team filed a lawsuit to contest the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to end the team’s trademark registration, including the red-faced mascot viewed as racially offensive to Native Americans.
A trademark appeals board later affirmed the decision to end the team’s registered holdings, saying the name is not legally protected because it is racially offensive, the Washington Post reported.
Jesse Witten, an attorney for the five Native Americans involved in the lawsuit against the team, called the ruling a “watershed event” and major victory in the Post.
A appeal from the Redskins is likely, and the cancellation won’t officially take effect until the end of the appeals process.