Jerry Jones: Trademark ruling 'a deterrent to using' Redskins

Jerry Jones: Trademark ruling 'a deterrent to using' Redskins

Credit: Rob Carr, Getty Images

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, has been competing against Washington's Dan Snyder for 15 years.

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by JARRETT BELL

USA Today

Posted on June 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 19 at 3:57 PM

IRVING, Texas — Jerry Jones is not eager to enter the name debate surrounding the Washington Redskins.

But Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, told USA TODAY Sports that he is undoubtedly concerned about the business ramifications from Wednesday's ruling by the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office that, if upheld through appeals, would strip Washington of trademark protection on the basis that the team name is a racial slur that disparages Native Americans.

"As far as the big debate that's going on, I don't have any statement on that," Jones told USA TODAY Sports. "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."

Jones, one of the league's most prominent power brokers with a franchise rated by Forbes as the most valuable in the league, was asked whether it is right for an NFL franchise to use the controversial name that some Native Americans have long denounced as disrespectful to their heritage.

"That's a different issue, relative to that ruling," Jones replied. "But they (the 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."

Although the Cowboys have a marketing arrangement separate from the other 31 teams that stems from Jones suing the league in the mid-1990s for the right to strike local marketing deals that were not bound to conditions of national deals, Jones said that his team still receives a share of revenues generated by the sale of Redskins merchandise.

Even so, Jones doesn't believe that Wednesday's ruling will prompt other owners to pressure Washington owner Dan Snyder, who has vowed never to change his team's name.

"All owners share the economic benefit of our marks," he 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."

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