Of Counsel Andrew Lee was quoted in the Corporate Counsel article, “With Name Change, Redskins’ In-House Counsel Must Consider Trademark Uses, Sponsorship Agreements,” about the far-reaching impact of the Washington Redskins changing its name.
The team announced this week that it would retire its name and rebrand amid growing external pressures.
The rebranding process will be much like any other corporate name change, Lee said. “In the sports world, particularly in the NFL, there is value and activation around a team’s name and logo.”
Legally, there is a good reason for not having retired the Redskins name and logo. The name and logo have been a trusted source to the consuming public. “But there’s a historical meaning that predates that use and offends a growing segment of that consuming public, so the entity is also perceived as being a source or origin of that offense—a good reason to make a change regardless of whether the courts say you can keep the name as a registered trademark,” Lee said.
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