UH Experts Available to Discuss U.S. Patent Office Ruling on NFL Redskins

Experts Can Weigh In on Sociological, Political, Branding Impact of Ruling

Faculty experts from the University of Houston are available to discuss the U.S. Patent Office ruling that the National Football League’s Washington Redskins’ name is “disparaging of Native Americans.” The decision, which can be appealed, cancels the trademark registrations of the organization.

To schedule interviews with these UH professors, contact Mike Emery at memery@central.uh.edu or 713-743-8186 (office)/281-794-4824 (cell.). These experts are available for phone or broadcast interviews. Additional faculty will be available to discuss this topic later this week.


Jaqueline Kacen, clinical professor at UH’s C.T. Bauer College of Business: Kacen can discuss today’s decision’s impact on the Washington Redskins brand. Professor Kacen is a member of the editorial review board of The Journal of Advertising and her papers have been published in the Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, and Advances in Consumer Research. Her research interests include impulse buying, consumer moods and gender issues in marketing. Kacen can be reached at 713.743.4174 or jkacen@uh.edu.

“The ruling is a strong signal that public opinion in support for keeping the name and logo is eroding. Dan Synder, the owner of the Redskins, cites the team’s 81-year history as a reason to keep the name.  Brand heritage is important, but if the brand develops negative connotations, smart companies adapt to the changing marketplace,” said Jaqueline Kacen, clinical professor at UH’s C.T. Bauer College of Business.

This Q&A offers more details on Kacen's perspectives on the topic.


Luis Salinas, professor of sociology: Salinas can discuss the sociological implications of today’s ruling, particularly as they relate to race and the origins of the name “Redskin.” Salinas is a demographer specializing on racial and ethnic issues. His work with the UH Center for Immigration Research and the UH Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston has resulted in publications on religion and family. Luis is available for interviews in English and Spanish. Reach Salinas at 713.743.3957 or lsalinas@uh.edu.


Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of political science: Rottinghaus can address the increased political consensus opposing the name “Redskin.” He has spent his career researching presidents and governors and their interaction with legislatures and courts, as well political scandal, media and public opinion. Rottinghaus can be reached at 713-743-3925 or bjrottinghaus@uh.edu

“There seems to be a growing political consensus to change the name from members of Congress and local leaders. The Obama Administration may take further action, although they are probably going to wait to see if other agents act first.  The White House may be forced to act at some point as a political play to demonstrate their empathy with core ethnic groups, support which has been leveling off in the last few years.  At this point, their symbolic attention to the issue gets them some credibility,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of political science at the University of Houston.


Jaqueline Lipton, Baker Botts Professor of Law: Lipton can address the history of Native American trademark and logo use. Her scholarship focuses on law and digital technology, as well as law and the creative arts.  She is the co-author of multiple editions of a leading cyberspace casebook "Cyberspace Law: Cases and Materials," as well as sole author of "Internet Domain Names, Trademarks and Free Speech" and "Security Over Intangible Property." Lipton can be reached at 713-743-1543 or jdlipton@central.uh.edu.

This Q&A offers more insight from Lipton on the topic.