The Washington Redskins want the Supreme Court to take up their trademark battle with the government over whether their name is offensive, which could jeopardize whether the team can make money from the name.
The case, in which the U.S. Patent Office found the name was derogatory to Native Americans, is supposed to be heard by a Richmond appeals court. But according to court documents reviewed by NBC News, lawyers for the team want the Supreme Court to intervene.
Attorneys said the high court may take up a similar case from a rock band fighting a battle over their name, The Slants, which the founder says reclaims a slur against Asians; the attorneys want the two cases heard together, since they may hinge on the same 1946 law.
The Redskins' legal battle started last year when the U.S. Patent and Trademark office rejected the Redskins trademark, agreeing with five Native American people who said the name is offensive.
The patent ruling, if upheld, would not mean the team must change its name, only that it could not protect its trademark from others using it.