Friday, July 17, 2015
Voluntary exchange, Trademarks and the Redskins
It pains me to write those lyrics, and it also pains me to discuss the Washington Redskins. As a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan, I share in the disdain for a divisional rival with my fellow Cowboys fans. However, this topic of the Washington Redskins' name is quite intriguing from an Economic perspective. The legal ramifications are well documented, and I will not address those issues in this here. I will simply address some simple economic "truths" as it deals with the Redskins, and trademarks as it pertains to private property rights.
In Economics, one learns that in voluntary exchange, two actors are in the process of exchanging one item that they see as lesser in value, for another item(s) that are perceived more valuable to the actors. How does this truth play out with the Washington Redskins?
It is well documented that the owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Synder, has stated emphatically, that he will "NEVER change" the Redskins name. I believe there is a price that the Redskins name will be changed. If the name is going to be changed, that economic price will be paid as well. If those individuals that are seeking to have the named changed, via the legal process, they still will pay the economic price to have it removed. The value to have it changed must exceed the value that Mr. Synder has for the trademark. They will pay this price directly to Mr. Synder, or they will pay it indirectly to attorneys and other legal professionals via the legal process.
Those individuals who simply think that Mr. Synder will acquiesce to the opposition at a lower price, are simply foolish. If this is the case, then Mr. Synder does not "value" that trademark in high regard. However, the Washington Redskins have a very valuable franchise, and that trademark, holds a very high asset value for Mr. Synder. Removal of this trademark will not come cheaply. So, do the protesters have enough cash to have this logo removed? Time will tell.
Here is the article discussing the ruling here: "Federal Judge Orders Cancellation of Trademark Registrations"