Curt Autry of WWBT (the NBC affiliate in Richmond) is reporting that the Redskins’ trademark appeal argument will be heard the week of December 6th in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Previously, the Redskins had asked that their case be consolidated with the substantially similar In Re Tam. The club wanted both cases to go directly to the Supreme Court in order to avoid the extra time and expense of a circuit-level review in their matter. The Tam case has already made it through the Federal Circuit, and, as I explained last December, the substance of the In re Tam ruling provided some legal ammunition for the Redskins.
While the Fourth Circuit is not bound by a decision from another circuit, the logic used in In re Tam could very well hold in the Redskins’ case as well. Counsel for the club will rely on similar arguments and present them as persuasive before the Fourth Circuit panel. Most critically, the Redskins’ contention will be that the “disparaging” provision of the Lanham Act is, in fact, an unconstitutional violation of the free-speech provision of the First Amendment (as was held in In re Tam).
During the week in question, the Fourth Circuit will hear cases Tuesday (12/6) through Friday (12/9). The Redskins will present their oral argument at some point during that span. On the field, Washington will be coming off of a December 4th game at Arizona and preparing for another road game on December 11th against the Eagles.