Common sense no longer applies

The June 25 story, “UI alum behind trademark cancellation,” appears to point up the latest “absurdity du jour” in a seemingly endless parade of federally sponsored silliness.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled trademark protection for the Washington Redskins’ name, citing its disparaging nature as perceived by a minority group. Though this claim arguably has merit, the charter of this bureau is to safeguard property rights, not to seize and destroy them for political gratification.

Now any group harboring a societal grudge or victimization fetish will feel emboldened to claim injury and petition for redress against some other target. All it needs is platoons of opportunistic lawyers inventing globs of exotic legal theory, ideology-tainted bureaucrats and a few malleable judges.

Think anyone is safe? Think again. Consider the Minnesota Vikings. I could just as easily plead that this team unfairly casts an unflattering glare on the barbarous ancestors of my urbane and peace-loving Norwegian immigrant forebears. Feign indignation, start a movement, keep up the pressure. Ultimately the clowns in Washington will cave.

That’s unlikely, of course. Though we “Norskies” endure our own share of ethnic jabs we’re hardly inclined to get the vapors over them.

But the gate is now thrown open. In our current hypersensitized climate of “perpetually offended,” common sense no longer applies. The USPTO has taken a first step down a slippery slope. Who knows where the bottom lies?

Dale Fitzgibbons

Cedar Rapids

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