Indians to appeal ruling on Redskins team name

Updated: November 3, 2003, 8:09 PM ET
ESPN

WASHINGTON -- A group of American Indians will appeal a decision rejecting their efforts to cancel the trademark for the team name of the Washington Redskins.

Lawyers for the group, led by activist Suzan Shown Harjo, said Monday they will try to overturn a federal judge's decision last month finding there was not enough evidence to show the NFL team's name is offensive.

A panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Redskins' trademarks in 1999 on the ground the name disparages Native Americans in violation of the federal trademark law.

But U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said the panel relied on flawed or incomplete data. A defeat for the team could jeopardize its exclusive rights to market the Redskins name and sell merchandise worth millions.

"This appeal should be no surprise to anyone," Norm D. St. Landau, a lawyer for the activists, said in a statement. "Nationwide, references to Native Americans in sports programs are being eliminated."

The notice of appeal was filed Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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