On July 13, 2020, the NFL’s Washington team announced the decision to retire the “R*dsk*ns” name and logo. The next step in re-branding the franchise is securing trademark rights in their preferred replacement name. However, a number of speculative filings have already been made for potential choices.
Josh Gerben provided The Washington Post with insight on the significance of the speculative filings made for the NFL Washington team:
“The thing about these filings? They’re just filings; they’re not registrations. You can’t get a trademark to register until you actually have ‘use in commerce’ of the name for goods and services. So if you look at the majority of these filings, they’re all made for clothing lines because that’s arguably the easiest thing to do: slap something on the back of a shirt. You ave to have a legitimate business in order to maintain that registration. So these filings are speculative at best. The folks who are making them really don’t have legitimate business operations behind them and if they ever challenged, they might not hold any legal weight.”
“In the trademark world, you can’t squat on a trademark. In other words, you can file a trademark application but that application cannot become a registration unless you have a legitimate business going on. I can’t file for Washington Red Tails and actually register the mark unless I’m selling the products that I’m listing in the application.”
“If I did discovery and asked what sales he had, and all he could show me was three sales a year to the same three people – buddies and his mom buying stuff – that’s not going to actually make that trademark valid or enforceable in any way.”
Source: Maese, Rick. Russell, Jake. “Warriors? Red Wolves? Red Tails? Next Step for Washington football team is securing rights”. WashingtonPost.com. 13 July 2020.