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Trademark Protection Case Could Impact Redskins Name

NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

The United States Supreme Court will take up a trademark protection case that The Rutherford Institute says could impact the Washington Redskins.

It all stems from a trademark request for a band called The Slants. The Slants' are based in Portland, Oregon.

According to the group's Facebook page, they are the world's first and only all Asian-American dance-rock band and chose the name in irony.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if the federal law barring trademarks on racial slurs violates free speech. If the court rules that the band gets to keep their name it could impact the Washington Redskins.

The team was denied trademark protection on its name in 2014.

The law firm Archer and Greiner along with the Rutherford Institute submitted a brief on the band's case to the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia in 2015, and won.

“I'm hoping that this case, the Supreme Court will uphold our ruling that we won and uphold free speech and push back this idea that we can no longer go out in public and speak, because a lot of people are telling me that they're afraid to say numerous words that 10 years ago were OK words,” said John Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute.

The band's legal team says they're glad the Supreme Court will review the case, and "look forward to the vindication of the First Amendment right of Mr. Tam, and the other members of The Slants."

Hearings are expected to begin next week, but the court is not expected to issue a ruling for several months.

Original article available here.