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Philip Martin McCaulay just might be the guy that’s preventing the Washington Football Team from having a nickname. Or is he? McCaulay is a 61-year-old Virginia man who has trademarked 44 names that the team formerly known as the Redskins could use as its new nickname. Does trademarking all the potential nicknames for the Washington Football Team make McCaulay a genius or a troll?

How the Washington Football Team got to this point

The team formerly known as the Washington Redskins is now without a nickname. It’s being called the Washington Football Team until further notice. Team owner Daniel Snyder, who once vowed he would never change the Redskins name, caved in. Snyder was under tremendous pressure as FedEx, which owns the stadium naming rights, threatened to pull out unless the name was changed.

Others followed suit. Nike said it would stop selling Washington’s NFL merchandise unless a change was made. Amazon also threatened to pull Washington-related merchandise off its site. Financial pressure got to Snyder, who gave in and said the name would be dropped.

Meanwhile, Philip Martin McCaulay, a 61-year-old man from Virginia, has 44 trademark claims for potential Washington nicknames. According to a July 14 article in the New York Post, the Washington team hadn’t released a new nickname because of a trademark issue. It was unclear if the holdup was because the team was interested in one of the names McCaulay owns.

McCaulay’s lawyer said his client has been verbally attacked

According to, Philip Martin McCaulay has hired Darren Heitner to represent him. In the first-person article written by Heitner, the attorney admits McCaulay “fits the description of being a controversial client” but insists he is not a troll.

“When McCaulay asked me for assistance, he referenced the terrible threats and harassment he was receiving from fans of the Washington NFL team and the public at large,” Heitner wrote. “It led to McCaulay tweeting, ‘Speculate on prior motives all you want if you don’t believe I just wanted them to change the name. Now (I) just want this albatross around my neck gone.'”

Heitner said he, too, was harassed after it was learned he was representing McCaulay. He also initially believed McCaulay was a trademark troll, but has learned otherwise. “Before I met McCaulay, I figured he was just another trademark troll,” he wrote. “However, after conducting my diligence, I learned that he is not a bad actor. He has no intent to cause harm to the Washington NFL team. Instead, he is exactly the type of person who requires strong representation to explain his position and interests.”

Is McCaulay a genius or a troll?

In a 2015 article in The Washington Post, Philip Martin McCaulay said he had spent more than $20,000 on trademark fees and team merchandise. He was hoping that he could recoup that sum, plus a whole lot more, if team owner Daniel Snyder were to ever change Washington’s team nickname to one he trademarked. Is that a smart move? Or is it a move of a troll?

McCaulay is clearly a smart man who was thinking ahead. According to his lawyer Darren Heitner, however, McCaulay just has “an expensive hobby.” He isn’t looking to get in the way of the team’s new nickname. “McCaulay is a man with an expensive hobby of filing trademark applications and actually using the marks in connection with the goods and services stated in the descriptions of the applications,” Heitner wrote on

“He is someone who has no desire to be a “trademark troll.” He will get out of the Washington NFL team’s way as soon as the team contacts him (if it decides to rebrand with any of the marks that McCaulay has sought to register). I see no reason why he should abandon any pending trademark applications that are of no interest to the Washington NFL team.”


‘Washington Redskins’ Might Be Offensive, but ‘Washington Football Team’ is Ridiculous