Sports | June 24, 2019 12:13 pm

Supreme Court Ruling Aids Washington Redskins in Trademark Battle

A law banning registering "scandalous" or "immoral" trademarks was struck down

Football helmets on the field at the Washington Redskins training camp
Helmets at the Washington training camp.
Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty

Though it was not related to the team, a 6-3 Supreme Court ruling handed down by Justice Elena Kagan is a big win for the Washington Redskins.

In the ruling, the court found that the federal government may not prohibit trademarks on “immoral” or “scandalous” materials.

Writing for the court, Justice Kagan said the trademark law’s restriction was a violation of the First Amendment because “it disfavors certain ideas.”

The decision, which was made thanks to a clothing line called FUCT, should help Washington’s ongoing efforts to protect their team name. Opponents of the name “Redskins” have argued Washington should lose its trademark protection because of the immoral or scandalous nature of the team name.

Previously, team owner Dan Snyder said he was “thrilled” with a 2017 Supreme Court ruling that found a trademark law barring disparaging terms was an infringement on free speech rights.

“The Supreme Court vindicated the team’s position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or canceling a trademark registration based on the government’s opinion,” team attorney Lisa Blatt said in a statement at the time.

That ruling was based on a case which was brought before the Supreme Court on behalf of an Asian-American rock band called the Slants.

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