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Jerry Jones: Patent Office ruling a 'deterrent' to using Redskins name

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com


Jerry Jones doesn't expect other owners to pressure Daniel Snyder. (USATSI)
Jerry Jones doesn't expect other owners to pressure Daniel Snyder. (USATSI)

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For the second time in 15 years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration because it considered the team's name "disparaging to Native Americans." The last time it happened, in 1999, the Redskins appealed the ruling and it was overturned.

The team expects the same thing to happen this time around.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week that he is concerned by the Patent Office's ruling and the subsequent business ramifications should the ruling not be overturned. Namely: Without federal trademark protection, anyone could sell items with the Redskins' logo.

"As far as the big debate that's going on, I don't have any statement on that," Jones told USAToday.com's Jarrett Bell. "But as far as having team marks that aren't protected, that's a disadvantage.

"That would be one of the things that you'd consider if you're going to do everything that you could to promote the franchise, to promote that name. If you didn't have exclusive use of that name, then that would be a deterrent to using it."

Still, Jones doesn't expect other owners to pressure Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to rename the team.

"All owners share the economic benefit of our marks," Jones said. "To the extent that all owners are not protected as much as we were, it implies that there would be a financial consequence. Certainly, they are impacted. To the degree that it would cause another owner to get into the business of the Redskins, I doubt it. I don't see it being of that consequence economically. I don't see it as having enough economic consequences to create any inertia. But that's not to address anything about anybody's opinion, one way or another."

When asked if whether it was right for an NFL franchise to use a controversial name, Jones said: "That's a different issue, relative to that ruling. But they (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) make that a criteria. They say we don't give anybody copyright protection if we think it has a disparaging aspect. I understand that."

Jones has said previously that Snyder, because of his heritage, is sensitive to those who find the name offensive.

"It would be a real mistake -- a real mistake -- to think [Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder], who is Jewish, has a lack of sensitivity regarding anybody's feelings," the Cowboys owner said last October.

Back in May 2013, Snyder proclaimed that the Redskins name wasn't going anywhere.

"We'll never change the name," he said. "It's that simple. NEVER -- you can use caps."

If a judge upholds the Patent Office's ruling, Snyder may not have a choice.

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