Liverpool FC fail to score with ‘Liverpool’ trade mark application

Previously reported on the Reading Room, Liverpool FC sought to take their trade mark portfolio to a whole new level and protect the word ‘Liverpool’ for football products and services.

When it was announced that the application was filed, many people were not happy about it and deemed the application unfair.

The main criticism stemmed from the fact there is other football clubs based in Liverpool who would come under fire if the application was to be successful.
Liverpool FC argued against this backlash, stating the application was purely to stop non-authentic and counterfeit merchandise flooding the market.

As Lawdit predicted, the application was refused by the UK Intellectual Property Office on the basis that a geographical location cannot be protected as a trade mark. This is a perfect example of why this rule is in place. If a trade mark is granted for a geographical location, it grants the owner a monopoly over the words or images, and the ability to block anyone’s else use. By allowing someone to do with this a geographical location was be hugely unfair on everyone else in the same location.

Speaking of the application failure, Peter Moore, the club’s chief executive, reiterated that the application was made in good faith, but the club accepts the UKIPO’s decision and will not seek to appeal it.

The supporters union of Liverpool FC, Spirit of Shankly, released a statement calling the decision a ‘victory for common sense’. The union made it clear it did not support the bid to gain ownership of the word ‘Liverpool’ and strongly opposed it.

It is likely that this case will deter any other sports team from going for goal and seeking a similar application.

If you would like some advice on how best to protect your brand, contact Lawdit’s team today.

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