There has been legal battle brewing over the Washington Redskins team name over the years but it seems like the United States Justice Department is stepping out of the battle. In June, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a band called the Slants were allowed to trademark that name despite some calling it derogatory. With that ruling, a previous judge's ruling that the trademark office could cancel the Redskins trademark was shot down.

The Supreme Court Ruling

The Slants is an Asian-American rock band who saw the United States Patent and Trademark Office deny their request to trademark their band's name. The reason for the rejection was that the name was offensive to Asians.

Simon Tam, the singer and an Asian-American himself, filed a lawsuit to force the issue, saying that they used the name to reclaim something that is seen as a slur.

The Supreme Court ruled that banning specific trademarks for the reason of being "disparaging" was actually a violation of the First Amendment and the Freedom of Speech Clause. The Supreme Court said that trademarks are private and not in the jurisdiction of "government speech."

This, then, moved right on to the Washington Redskins and their struggles. Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said that he will not change his team's name because the name is honoring Native Americans and not disparaging them. However, that battle saw the Justice Department trying to force a change by denying their trademark.

The Washington Redskins

With the Supreme Court saying that the government can't impose their will on trademarks, the Justice Department announced that they will drop the case against the Washington Redskins.

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An attorney for the civil division of the Justice Department said that the victory for Tam and Slant means that the original judgment to cancel the Redskins trademark will be reversed.

There is still a chance that other groups will continue to apply pressure to the Washington Redskins to change their name but the trademark can't be declined, eliminating one big hurdle. There are other ways to battle this but it will probably come down to the NFL or advertising sponsors.

An example is the NCAA banning team mascots that they deem derogatory. The NCAA has proclaimed that any college that uses a derogatory name will not be allowed to host NCAA championship events or use their logos on uniforms if playing for championships. 15 schools still use banned Native American mascots.