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There have been several headlines involving American football this year completely unrelated to the 120 yards in between the uprights: Adrian Peterson’s abuse allegations, Ray Rice’s domestic violence charges, as well as dozens of other player arrests.

But the discussion has also focused on the Washington Redskins and the uncertain future of its trademarks.

Washington Redskins [Image from flickr by: Keith Allison]
In its June decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six trademarks on the team’s name, including some that have existed for more than 40 years. Strangely though, as the PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board discusses in its opinion, this wasn't the first time that someone sued to have the Redskins’ marks cancelled.

Suzan Harjo and others petitioned to have the same marks cancelled in 1992, alleging that they disparaged Native Americans and comprised “scandalous matter” undeserving of legal protection. After seven years of litigation, the TTAB found that the marks were disparaging and ordered them cancelled. But as Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

As expected, the Washington Redskins appealed the Harjo decision. It was subsequently reversed, and its conclusion regarding disparagement has been in legal limbo since 2003. If the Redskins considered the 2003 reversal a touchdown, the recent decision has at least brought the ball back to midfield, with the case currently pending in a Virginia federal court. But what does this all mean?

If the team is unsuccessful with its appeal and the trademarks remain cancelled, it won’t stop the Redskins from being able to use the marks—it would simply eliminate the benefits of federal trademark registration. This may seem like a hollow victory for Amanda Blackhorse and the other four Native Americans who won in June, but it would almost certainly cause significant harm to the team’s bottom line. One of the benefits that registration offers is the ability to block the importation of infringing goods by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. (See page 128 for the specifics on counterfeit goods.)

To put this in context, federal agents seized more than $21 million in counterfeit NFL merchandise during “Operation Team Player” earlier this year, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized more than $17 million in counterfeit Super Bowl 2013 memorabilia last year. Losing protection for even a fraction of these amounts can put a significant dent in the profitability of any NFL franchise, so it’s an important case to watch for both consumers and businesses.

If we’re lucky, it’ll be fully resolved before today’s newborns become tomorrow’s loud, drunken tailgaters. As a lawyer, though, I doubt it...

Stephen Hoffman, Esq. is the managing attorney of Hoffman Law Office, P.L.L.C., a business and intellectual property law firm practicing in Minnesota and California. He can be contacted on Twitter and Facebook, as well as his firm’s legal blog. This article was first published December 6, 2014.


DeMarco Murray
The Cowboys have suggested that they will reduce the workload of DeMarco Murray, who is currently on track to break the record for all-time NFL most carries in a season. But one of the most enduring runners in NFL history says there is no reason why Murray should not go ahead.

Eric Dickerson, whose record of 2,105 yards in a season could be overshadowed by Murray this year, told Yahoo Sports that if the game plan for the Cowboys is that Murray has 25, 35 or 45 carries in a game, then so either.

"It comes down to the player, if you want to run that many times. That's their job if given the ball 45 times, "Dickerson said.

There has been talks that Murray just cannot take the knocks for having 25 or more carries in a game, but Dickerson had seasons of 404, 390, 388 and 379 carries, no wear. Dickerson said that Murray will get bumps and bruises with that kind of workload, but it's just part of life in the NFL.

"I was not healthy all year," he said. "You are never healthy. You cannot."

Murray leads 159 carries after six games, putting him on pace to finish with 424 this season. Dickerson said that while Murray feels he can keep running, the Cowboys should continue feeding.

"The big question is how DeMarco Murray feels" Dickerson said. "It comes down to that."

So far, Murray feels good. It remains to see how it feels when you carry this type of workload over the next 10 games.

Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles were brilliant defensively, defeating the Giants 27-0 on Sunday night.

Running back LeSean McCoy enjoyed a productive night, rushing for 149 yards as the Eagles improved to 5-1 to keep pace with Dallas in the NFC East after the Cowboys beat the Super Bowl champs, the Seahawks , at the beginning of the day.

A miserable night for the Giants got even worse when receiver Victor Cruz left the field in agony with a torn tendon in his right knee in the third quarter and was taken to a hospital.

The Giants, who had scored 105 points in winning their previous three games, were found with wet gunpowder, and fell to 3-3. They have a tough schedule ahead, facing Dallas, Indianapolis and Seattle in their next three games.

The Eagles, meanwhile, had allowed 115 points in its previous four games, but were much more effective to keep the Giants at zero. Quarterback Eli Manning was sacked six times and completed only 13 of his 23 passes for 151 yards.

"The big difference from other games we've played this year is that we executed in all phases, offense, defense and special teams", said coach Chip Kelly of Philadelphia reporters after the first shutout of the Eagles since 1996.

"It was a football game consistent from beginning to end. It is something that you can build."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin described it as a "great defeat" that can not be explained by any simple reason.

"We were excited to come here and play in a meaningful game, but had nothing to show for it", he said.

"They played hard, made things happen and we did not and were not able to stop them."

Tom Coughlin [Photo Credit: CBS Sports]
Since their offense is no longer a joke, Giants coach Tom Coughlin apparently feels more comfortable.

When asked on Wednesday about the fact that the 30-7 mark in October, since Eli Manning became the quarterback, Coughlin showed his comic side.

"I planned it for years and years," Coughlin said, via the New York Daily News. "I wanted to be known as Mr. October. Reggie Jackson is a good friend of mine."

The Giants offense has undergone a remarkable transformation, scoring 30 points or more during the last three weeks. Following the criticism after his slow start in the preseason under new coordinator Ben McAdoo, Coughlin said the offensive is still "a work in progress."

"October comes a few games after the start of the season and hopefully, we are starting to play pretty well", he said. "We are getting to that. We have done some very good things in difficult circumstances. There is always something to learn in every game. "

Of course, Coughlin has been pretty good in January and February as well, when it gets that far. But the fact that the playoffs in each of the past two years, since his last lost Super Bowl championship, has a lot to do with why they are changing systems.

Robert Green III suffered a dislocated ankle during the game between Washington Redskins and the Jacksonville Jaguars
Robert Griffin III received a relatively good news after an MRI scan on Monday after he suffered a dislocated ankle during the game between Washington Redskins and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Griffin, who left Sunday's game in Washington with an ankle injury, said that an MRI revealed that there is no fracture and he was told that there are chances that he might not need any surgery. According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Griffin called the results "positive".

The news does not mean that Griffin is close to returning to the field. He has a cast and crutches, and said that there is more to analyze test results.

But that he would not require surgery is a big good news for the Washington quarterback.

Now the question is whether Griffin can still be seen as the franchise quarterback of Washington when he are ready to return or if Kirk Cousins ​​can keep playing like he did on Sunday, and raise questions about who is the better quarterback for the team.

DeMarco Murray rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown, Dan Bailey kicked four field goals and the Cowboys beat the Titans 26-10.

DeMarco Murray in action for Dallas Cowboys [Credits: Getty Images]
The loss spoiled the home debut of coach Ken Whisenhunt, who is spending his first-year in Tennessee.

The Cowboys have not started 0-2 since 2010, when Wade Phillips was fired midway through the season and Jason Garrett was promoted to head coach.

Dallas scored the first 16 points of the game in the first half.

Even the Dallas defense got into the act, making two sacks and two interceptions.

Tony Romo easily shook his three interceptions in the defeat of the first week against San Francisco.

With Murray running so well, Romo went 19 of 29 for 176 yards and a TD.

The Titans (1-1) struggled in all areas, after winning their first game at Kansas City and missed their first chance to be 2-0 since 2008.

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