Cleveland Indians taking Chief Wahoo logo off uniforms but maintaining trademark

29 January 2018 | Applicable law: US

The Cleveland Indians have decided to pull their famous Chief Wahoo logo off their uniforms beginning in the 2019 season. Chief Wahoo, a caricature of a Native American, has long been the subject of criticism but recently MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been pushing Indians owner Paul Dolan to make a change. 

While the Indians are pulling Chief Wahoo from their game uniforms, they have no intention of relinquishing the trademark. In fact, in order to maintain the trademark the Indians will continue to sell merchandise featuring the logo. If the Indians did relinquish or abandon the logo, a third party could attempt to claim the logo and profit from its use. Maintaining the trademark allows the Indians and MLB to control the use of the image. The move could set interesting precedent for teams in other leagues, including the Washington Redskins, whose logos have also been the subject of criticism.

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