According to a report from the Washington Post, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently denied the Washington Football Team’s initial application to trademark its current name.
That makes it unlikely Washington will keep its name beyond this season, as the franchise would not be able to prevent others from using the name on apparel or for marketing purposes moving forward.
The USPTO cited two main factors in its decision to deny the request, including the generic geographic nature of the name and the fact that noted trademark squatter Martin McCaulay had already filed an application for the “Washington Football Team” – though it’s probably safe to assume his request was also denied given the reason above.
Washington has until Dec. 18 to file a response to the USPTO, which could still be convinced that the name is worthy of a trademark. The franchise would somehow have to prove its name is distinctive and marketable, rather than simply being constructed from weak terms such as “football” and “team.”
That said, it’s been almost a year since the franchise retired its controversial nickname and became the Washington Football Team. Fans were able to submit their suggestions for a new nickname, logos and uniform earlier this spring, and the plan is to have the new identity in place for the 2022 season.