Native American group drops lawsuit against Redskins over trademark

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 18:48:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A lawyer representing several Native Americans suing the Washington Redskins over their trademark protection says the group is dropping their case.

In a letter to the clerk of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Jesse Witten says there is no need for oral arguments in the case of his clients against the Redskins in regards to the team's trademark protection.

Witten says the group agrees that a ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of an Asian American rock band seeking a trademark for their band name is "controlling" in the case involving the Redskins.

The SCOTUS ruling basically said the U.S. Government cannot, under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, deny trademark protection over potentially offensive speech.

The U.S. Justice Department also sent a letter to the 4th Circuit asking the court to end the case against the Redskins in light of the SCOTUS decision which would take precedent.

The letter read, in part: “The Supreme Court’s decision in Matal v. Tam…controls the disposition of this case.  Consistent with Tam, the court should reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Pro-Football”.

The Redskins now wait for the Circuit to issue an order restoring their trademark protection permanently, which is considered a formality. The team has retained the protection as they have appealed previous court rulings.

CBS 6 has reached out to the Redskins for reaction on today's events but have not yet heard from the team.