The Lex Indicium Blog has a post today discussing the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June ruling cancelling the six REDSKINS trademark registrations, and the differences between the media’s (and consequently the public’s) reaction to the ruling and the actual impact of the ruling on Pro-Football, Inc.’s rights in the REDSKINS marks (see prior posts on the ruling here, here, here, and here). The TTAB ruling was widely reported as both a loss of the owner’s exclusive trademark rights and an invitation to third parties to begin selling REDSKINS-branded products. However, under the Lanham Act, Pro-Football still retains trademark rights that have accrued through decades of use of the REDSKINS marks. As the article points out:
If the decision of the Office stands, the Redskins team, and Pro-Football will still be able to sell their wares and stop others from doing so. Thousands of unregistered trademark owners know this because they exercise those enforcement rights every day. True, it might be harder to enforce those rights – but no one should believe that Pro-Football won’t continue to collect license fees or be able to obtain legal redress if others use their marks without authorization.
While there are very substantial benefits to federally registering one’s trademark, the loss of the registration does not result in a loss of all rights to the mark. If such misperceptions persist, and lead to a rise in unauthorized use of the REDSKINS marks by third parties, Pro-Football may have more opportunities to publicly demonstrate the fact that unregistered marks may still be enforced. Read the full article here.
Reposted from Lex Indicium.