The Longstanding Pro Bono Battle Challenging the Washington Football Team Trademarks

Victoria Phillips, American University Washington College of Law


The battle over the “Redskins” federal trademark registrations received significant attention following the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB’s) order to cancel the registrations. More recently, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia affirmed the TTAB’s decision, again highlighting the legal dispute over the “Redskins” registrations. Less known are the 20 years, thousands of billable hours, and millions of dollars in pro bono legal representation spent on the case. Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Drinker Biddle) has represented the petitioners pro bono since 2003. Partner Jesse Witten currently leads the firm’s representation.