June 24, 2014

This week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six patents associated with embattled football team the Washington Redskins. The patent office found in favor of five Native Americans (not five grievance groups, mind you, but five people), stripping the trademarks on the grounds that they were disparaging to native peoples. 

Because, hey, who doesn”€™t want to cheer for a football team named after someone they loathe? 

The Redskins won”€™t be losing the trademarks right away; we kind of have due process and the rule of law in this country, for now, anyway. No, the Redskins get to keep their trademarks until such time as a higher kangaroo court rules on the subject. 

I”€™m not interested in rehashing the “€œIs it acceptable to name teams after Native Americans?”€ question (probably”€”I”€™d be down with a team called the Huns whose mascot was a guy in a World War I-style Kaiser helmet … sadly, though, I can”€™t think of a way to make Dutchmen seem fierce), nor the “€œIsn”€™t this type of concern trolling sort of selective?”€ question (in light of teams like the Fighting Irish, the Spartans, or the Rebels, almost certainly). They”€™re boring, they”€™ve been discussed to death, and I doubt I”€™d find any disagreement with a single regular Taki’s reader on the subject.

“€œFootball is, despite the growing presence of reprehensible subhumans like Michael Vick and Aaron Hernandez, a conservative game, traditional even, a throwback to a time when men still worked in meatpacking plants and steel mills.”€

Instead, I”€™d like to discuss the language of the ruling, as well as its propriety and implications. The specific federal trademark law cited includes a prohibition against “€œregistration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.” Presumably this is why no one ever took out a trademark on those clever stickers of a small boy urinating onto the Ford logo. 

Intellectual property law is above my pay grade, but smarter folk than myself have said the whole notion of patents is anti-competition, anti-consumer, and anti-free market. I guess I”€™m pro- all of those things, in the same way that I”€™m also for puppy dogs, muscle cars, and reading. In light of the recent ruling, however, it’s hard to ignore the likelihood that similar rulings will increase the steady creep of communism in America

Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s most famous quote is the one about how democracy is basically the polite version of communism; a “€œGosh darn!”€ to communism’s “€œGoddamn it.”€ Put simply, Democracy, like either big-C or small-c c/Communism, is the opposite of the rule of law. Once we acknowledge the “€œright”€ of the mob to make rules affecting the lives of others, with or without their consent, we”€™ve already arrived at the point where 51 percent of the population is voting to take away the toothbrushes of the other 49 because some people have rotten teeth. 

Or to take away their trademarks because of some hurt feelings. 

And while it’s true that earlier in 2014, the Patent Office denied a patent to a pork rind maker who wanted to name their savory snack treats “€œRedskins,”€ stripping the Redskins of their trademarks isn”€™t even part of the foolish consistency that plagues little minds”€”though I have little doubt there is no shortage of such on the panel making these rulings.


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