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Supreme Court to hear case with relevance to Washington trademark dispute


As the ultimate power of the executive branch will soon be transferred from a President who believes the Washington team should change its name to a President-Elect who believes it shouldn’t, the ultimate power of the judicial branch will hear arguments in a case that will impact the lingering legal dispute regarding whether the team should lose the federal protections applicable to their name.

Via the Associated Press, the balance between free speech and trademark rights will be determined via an Asian-American band whose chosen name arises from a term that is offensive to Asian-Americans. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused to register the name in 2011, sparking the legal fight that lands in the highest court on the land on Wednesday.

The lingering dispute regarding the Washington name has been placed on hold pending the outcome of the litigation that will be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. The team had tried to have its case merged with the case that will be heard Wednesday.

Instead, the outcome of Wednesday’s case will become precedent that will apply to Washington’s case.

A loss won’t mean that the team’s name must change. Instead, it will eliminate the federal protections applicable to the name, allowing anyone to sell merchandise bearing the label without permission from the team.