Ward & Ward Partner Dan Ward was asked to appear on Washington Post Live last Friday to offer legal commentary and analysis of NBA star Gilbert Arenas’ guilty plea to one count of felony gun possession. Take a look at the clip here.
The Redskins’ day in court is soon to come — will the Court determine that the name is racist and offensive, and thus not entitled to trademark protection under the Lanham Act? If so, what’s a Skins fan (or its Napoleonic owner, Dan Snyder) to do? Frankly, I’m amazed the ‘Skins have held on to the name this long, and I am a lifelong fan. Part of me says it is a testament to the warrior spirit, and thus a compliment, that a football team would choose to name itself after your race or ethnic group — the Fightin’ Irish come to mind. But “Redskin” is universally seen as a very derogatory term for a Native American, so the “testament to the warrior spirit” argument breaks down, big time. It is interesting to note that the previous attack on the Redskins’ trademark was thrown out as being time-barred under the doctrine of Laches, but the current assault cites Marshak v. Treadwell, a 2001 3rd Circuit opinion which held that the law allows for trademark cancellation “at any time.” The author of Marshak? None other than current Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. Could be interesting . . . http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/sports/Redskins-Trademark-Battle-Goes-to-Supreme-Court-59323632.html and http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/09/challenge-to-redskins-name-reaches-supreme-court.html