Unless you have been living under a rock for several years, the name of a popular NFL team has been a hot topic of conversation. While many have argued over the name, the Washington Redskins have been reluctant to change it for a myriad of reasons. That is, until now. After decades under their current name, the team based out of Washington D.C. has decided to make a change. 

In some cases, a simple name change wouldn’t be a big deal. But when it is something as valuable as the trademark ownership for a multi-billion dollar industry it can be far more complicated. The value of a trademark was of particular concern to  Philip Martin McCauley, who has been a Washington Redskins fan for four decades. The proof of his understanding of the value of protecting intellectual property (IP) with a trademark is in the actions he took while eagerly anticipating a team name change. McCauley trademarked several possible options for Washington’s NFL team. He says he was not, as might be imagined, seeking to be enriched with a sizeable windfall. Instead, his goal was to help facilitate an entanglement-free change in the team’s moniker so that the deed would finally be done.

For All The Best Intentions

In a July 14, 2020 tweet, McCauley expressed that, by hoarding good names to replace “Redskins,” he was trying to prevent another person from blocking a name change for his team. By buying up the trademarks of many potential Washington team names he had hoped to “gift” his team with the perfect new moniker. Instead he now fears that his actions bring the possibility having done just what he hoped to prevent.

In 2015, the first of McCauley’s investments was made with a trademark ownership on Washington Pigskins. Since then, he has trademarked so many potential names for the NFL team that McCauley himself has lost count. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) McCauley also owns:

· Washington Warriors,

· Washington Monuments,

· Washington Redtails,

· Washington Red Wolves, and

· Washington Veterans.

Message Sent, Money Spent

According to McCauley, on Independence Day he offered the Washington Redskins, in writing, free access to any of his numerous trademarked team names and also contacted the NFL. As yet, there has been no reply from the league nor the team.

With no obvious regret, McCauley spoke about the money he has spent on the many trademarks he has registered. Keep in mind that the amount is most likely substantial, with applicable fees quickly adding up on multiple trademark ownerships. The initial application fee, for instance, is $225, $275, or perhaps more, depending on the filing basis selected. Additional fees are possible for intent-to-use applications and filing an Affidavit of Use, though he hasn’t been hit yet with an Application of Renewal, required every 10 years. McCauley dismissed the undisclosed cost of his total payout by saying it is less than a six-year period of attending all home games and paying associated costs—tickets, parking, food, and drinks.

Any Regrets?

Though he expresses concern about being an obstacle of some sort, McCauley takes comfort in the news that the Washington Redskins are on course with a commitment to change the team’s name. He holds little hope, however, that they will ultimately choose his favorite of all the names he holds the trademark to, that being the Washington Pandas.

Of course, this whole fiasco can provide an interesting perspective for other businesses both large and small. In trademarking potential names, McCauley has limited his teams choices in the short term. Any name change would require a number of steps to transfer the asset and at the very least prove to be somewhat costly for the NFL team, even if their fan is willing to pass along the name for free.

With some proper preventative measures the Washington team, whatever their name may be, could have anticipated such a headache. Protecting your intellectual property assets is, in large part, about forward thinking and planning. Anticipating any potential variants of your brands name, and protecting them in advance, can help trademark squatters from holding them ransom in the future. 

Contact Zachary Hiller, IP Attorney

The benefits of a registered trademark could arguably be summed up as a sound business strategy, in much the same way installing an alarm system in your office can be. Preventing trademark squatters helps brands to avoid the cost and regret of failing to protect valuable IP. The experience of Attorney Zachary Hiller is all you need for peace of mind with regard to your trademark, patent, copyright, or trade secrets. Contact the office of Zachary Hiller today for a free consultation at 832-830-8016, fill out our contact form, or send an email to

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