The New York Times reports:
Although the Indians will stop using the logo on their uniforms, they will not relinquish the trademark and still will be able to profit off sales of merchandise bearing the logo at the stadium and in the Cleveland area. But by maintaining the trademark, the team, with the supervision of M.L.B., retains control of the proliferation of the logo. If it relinquished the trademark, or announced an intention to never claim its protections, another party could legally assume control of it and use the logo in other ways.
Before the Indians officially adopted the logo, it was seen in local newspapers to accompany results and news about the team. Then, in 1947, the former owner Bill Veeck, known generally for his progressive views in other areas (he signed Larry Doby as the first African-American player in the American League) hired a cartoonist to come up with an official team logo.
That version is regarded as more offensive than the current red, white and blue model, which depicts a person with an exaggerated, toothy smile, huge eyes and a feather. Some proponents of the logo say that it, and the team name, actually honors American Indians. But others say the use of ethnic groups as mascots and nicknames for teams is demeaning.
The Indians team name itself is supposedly derived from Louis Sockalexis, a member of the Penobscot nation in Maine, who played for a different Cleveland team in the National League from 1897-1899.