The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled six trademarks belonging to the football team on Wednesday, saying they are offensive to Native Americans. The team, which has said it has spent millions defending trademark over the years, will appeal thedecision, a process that could take years.
The Patent Office will continue to treat the trademark registrations as though they are valid during the appeals process, according to a spokesperson.
If the decision is upheld, it will be hard for the team to claim ownership of its brand, a crucial step in going after the makers of unlicensed merchandise. Instead, the team will have to illustrate that it has always used the logos, rather than relying official trademark registrations.
The decision came in response to a suit brought by five Native Americans.