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As we settle into 2015, we thought you might be interested in a commentary regarding the continuing debate surrounding the name of the Washington NFL football team, Missing the Point: The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth, written by Eirk Stegman, Associate Director of the Half in Ten Education Fund at the Center for American Progress, and Victoria Phillips, who teaches intellectual property and communications law at American University Washington College of Law and is the Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic. Stegman and Phillips discuss the psychological impact of the team’s controversial appellation, noting that “…too much of the debate misses the point. It is not just about a name, a logo, a business, or a matter of intent. Racist and derogatory team names have real and harmful effects on [American Indian and Alaska Native] people every day, particularly young people.” Among other things, the authors note that “AI/AN students across the country attend K-12 and postsecondary schools that still maintain racist and derogatory mascots. Research shows that these team names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for AI/AN students. It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directly results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/AN adolescents and young adults. And just as importantly, studies show that these mascots undermine the educational experience of all students, particularly those with little or no contact with indigenous and AI/AN people. In other words, these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus “contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices.”


To read the full commentary, follow the link at

Please click the link below to view the "Save The Date” flyer for this year’s IP and Social Justice Continuing Legal Education Seminar, which will be once again co-presented by Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett, & Dunner, LLP, and hosted at the Howard University School of Law, on Friday, March 13, 2015.


As usual the program will explore leading developments in the intellectual property law, including pertinent issues of social justice. The full program brochure will be forthcoming shortly.


IIPSJ 2015 CLE "Save the Date" Flyer



The mission of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice (IIPSJ) is to empower politically, socially, and economically traditionally disadvantaged and excluded groups through facilitating their creation, use, and exploitation of intellectual property.

The Institute engages in three main types of activities:

  • education and training;
  • scholarly investigation of IP and empowerment; and
  • public advocacy.

Foremost among these is the IIPSJ Intellectual Property Law and Policy Think Tank, which is the only IP Think Tank dedicated to evaluating IP law and policy and IP-related issues from the social justice perspectives of inclusion and empowerment.

The IIPSJ Think Tank functions as:

  1. an incubator for developing new social justice oriented IP legislation and amending existing IP law;
  2. an institution around which Civil Rights activism and community awareness, education, entrepreneurship, and empowerment in the field of IP are centered; and
  3. a locus for scholarly and professional involvement on important national and international IP law and policy controversies.

IIPSJ also provides direct services on a very limited basis such as advising clients on trademark issues.  The Institute hopes to expand that aspect of its work in the future.

These three activities are realized through various Institute programs including IIPSJ's Think Tank, its international program, and its student-oriented program.

IIPSJ is an officially recognized NGO affiliate of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and is ramping up IIPSJ's involvement in advocacy and support for international IP and development issues of various sorts.



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