WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP)--The long-running battle overthe Washington Redskins name gets a restart Thursday, when a group ofNative Americans goes before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board toargue that the franchise should lose their federal trademark protection,based on a law that prohibits registered names that disparaging,scandalous, contemptuous or disreputable.
The board is headed by Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard F. Rogers.
As someone who has spent nearly a third of her life fighting theRedskins nickname, Suzan Shown Harjo had a good laugh when asked aboutthe team's latest line of defense.
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said last month that it is"ludicrous" to think that the team is "trying to upset anybody" with itsnickname, which many Native Americans consider to be offensive.
That's beside the point, according to Harjo. She's never suggestedthat the Redskins deliberately set out to offend anyone. But thatdoesn't mean that people aren't offended.
"It's just like a drive-by shooting," Harjo said Wednesday. "They'retrying to make money, and not caring who is injured in the process - orif anyone is injured in the process. I don't think they wake up or go tosleep dreaming of ways to hurt Native people. I think they wake up andgo to sleep thinking of ways to make money - off hurting Native people."
Harjo has won this round before. She was one of the plaintiffs whenthe board stripped the Redskins of the trademark in 1999, but the rulingwas overturned in 2003 in large part on a technicality. Essentially,the courts decided that the plaintiffs were too old, that they shouldhave filed their complaint soon after the Redskins registered theirnickname in 1967, or shortly they became adults and therefore old enoughto file a case.