Etsy Bans the R-Word

As reported by The Verge, e-commerce website Etsy has instituted a ban on sales of merchandise with the name or logo of the Washington Redskins NFL team.  In a “Policy Update” blog post, Etsy explains that, “[l]ike the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, we at Etsy find the opinion of the minority group itself to carry most weight in determining whether the mascot is disparaging.  In no uncertain terms, Native American groups have consistently advocated and litigated that the term ‘redskin(s)’ is disparaging and damaging to Native Americans.  Therefore, it will no longer be permitted in our marketplace.”  As noted in the Verge article, Etsy’s sellers are predominantly small businesses and individuals dealing in handmade goods, so it is unclear whether the ban will have a significant effect on the overall market for Redskins goods.  Moreover, given that most, if not all uses of the Washington Redskins name and/or logo on Etsy are likely unlicensed by the trademark owner, such products may already violate Etsy’s policies against trademark infringement.  Read the full article here, and the Etsy policy update here.


Reposted from The Verge.