Earlier this week a ruling from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office revoked six trademarks belonging to the Washington, DC football team calling the name ‘disparaging’.
A coalition of investors, including Trillium, has also recently announced a shareholder proposal with FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) asking the company to “respond to reputational damage from its association with the Washington D.C. NFL franchise team” and its name controversy.
Erik Brady, of USA Today Sports, writes:
“…The filing represents a new battleground in the fight over the Washington club’s controversial team name — sponsors. FedEx owns the naming rights at the suburban Maryland stadium where the Washington team plays.
Jonas D. Kron, senior vice president, director of shareholder advocacy at Trillium Asset Management, told USA TODAY Sports that the firms have been working on similar proposals since 2009. He said FedEx opposes having the proposal placed on the proxy for its annual meeting in September.
‘One of the ways in which an issue can be kept off the proxy is if the company can demonstrate that it is, quote, not a significant policy issue,’ Kron said. ‘So they have argued that this controversy isn’t big enough. … Friday we will be submitting our response to the Securities and Exchange Commission and then the SEC makes the determination. If the SEC permits it, which I am cautiously optimistic they will do, it will go on the proxy and be voted on by company shareholders.’”
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