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A federal judge seems to think Native Americans offended by the Washington Redskins team name are properly being sued by the NFL franchise.
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee suggested during a hearing Friday that it would be unprecedented to dismiss the team's lawsuit against five Native Americans who complained about the name to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
A trademark office board decided in June to cancel some of the Redskins' trademarks, citing federal regulations against protecting words and images that are disparaging or offensive.
The team could have challenged the ruling in appellate court in Washington, but sought help instead in a venue that gives it more options, by going to a trial court to sue the Native Americans who complained in the first place.