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Trademark Board Rules Against Redskins Name

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OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Washington Redskins helmets lay on the ground during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Washington Redskins helmets lay on the ground during their game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on September 29, 2013 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Patent Office has ruled the Washington Redskins nickname is “disparaging of Native Americans” and that the team’s federal trademarks for the name must be canceled.

The ruling announced Wednesday comes after a campaign to change the name has gained momentum over the past year.

The decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is similar to one it issued in 1999. That ruling was overturned in 2003 in large part on a technicality because the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old.

The new case was launched in 2006 by a younger group of Native Americans. A hearing was held in March 2013.

Just like last time, the Redskins can retain their trademark protection during an appeal.

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AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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