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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.

Russell Wilson in action for Seattle Seahawks
QB Russell Wilson of the Seahawks put up a brilliant performance against Washington on Monday night, leaving his opponents stunned.

In fact, safety Ryan Clark said after the game that he thinks Wilson is the best player at present.

"We gained a better team," Clark told the Washington Post, "We got beat by a better team. We got beat by, as far as I'm concerned this weekend, the best player in the NFL. Russell Wilson made every play he had to make for his team to win, and we didn't."

Wilson completed 18 of 24 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns and added 122 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown without a fumble.

"Best player in the NFL" still sounds somewhat exaggerating. Peyton Manning was voted unanimous MVP last season, and his numbers so far this year are only slightly below last year's numbers. Continues, "Manning would finish with 5,172 yards and 48 touchdowns this season. And JJ Watt is playing not only as the best defensive player in the NFL, but one of the best defensive players ever."

Clark made the remarks following Wilson burned to the defense of Washington, so no parameter. For now, Wilson is one of the best, and has the potential to reach the top.

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.

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