News & Politics

Redskins Won’t Be Changing Their Name to “Bravehearts”

A mysterious trademark registration sends TMZ into a poorly executed frenzy over the name of the local NFL team.

Hail to the Bravehearts? Not by a long shot.

A report by gossip website TMZ suggesting that the Redskins are inching closer toward changing their name turns out to be almost entirely false. TMZ got excited this morning when it learned that a resident of Potomac, Maryland—where Dan Snyder resides—registered a trademark for “Washington Bravehearts” with the stated purpose of “entertainment in the nature of football games.”

The trademark was purchased on October 17 by Aris Mardirossian, a patent investor. (Or “troll,” as such people are often known.) He also registered a Maryland limited liability corporation named “Washington Brave Hearts” the same day. Mardirossian’s motives in registering the trademark are unknown. 

Maridrossian happens to live in Snyder’s leafy, exclusive neighborhood, and that was enough to send TMZ’s intrepid powers of deductive reasoning into high gear. Among the other evidence TMZ banked on:

  • They both attended the University of Maryland—albeit more than 10 years apart.
  • They’ve both quarreled with Montgomery County officials over cutting down trees on their properties.
  • They’re both wealthy.

Could there really be a conspiracy afoot to change the name of Washington’s football team to “Bravehearts” in the wake of a publicity campaign by the Oneida Indian Nation urging the team to find a moniker that is not defined in most dictionaries as a racial slur? Not quite.

“There is no connection between the trademark and the Washington Redskins,” team spokesman Tony Wyllie tells Washingtonian. The team also tells reporters Snyder does not even know Mardirossian.

A phone number listed for Mardirossian was disconnected, and he has not replied to an email sent to his firm Technology Patents LLC. But he has in the past been accused of being a patent troll, a reputation that stems from a 2007 lawsuit in which he sued 131 mobile phone carriers from around the world over text messaging technology. The case was dismissed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.