This week the Intellectual Property Office have rejected Liverpool Football Club’s application to trade mark “Liverpool” in the context of football products and services.
LFC claimed, in a statement, that the application was made “in good faith and with the sole aim of protecting and furthering the best interests of the club and its supporters”. In reality, the application was likely to try and protect the club against inauthentic goods and memorabilia.
However, the IPO’s decision to reject the application on grounds of the “geographical significance” of the city of Liverpool was welcomed by local businesses, fans and the Spirits of Shankly supporters’ union alike. There were concerns by independent businesses in and around Liverpool that this would hinder local outlets and severely restrict the use of the city’s name. Spirits of Shankly praised the IPO’s decision as a “victory for common sense”.
Whilst the intentions of LFC may be understandable, CEO Peter Moore acknowledged the club had “underestimated the emotional reaction to [the application]”.
The IPO’s decision to reject the application is, in the view of many, the correct outcome and reflects the status of Liverpool as a city beyond football. However, this does sit slightly at odds with the fact that both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have a number of registered trade marks in their name.
Peter Moore concluded that LFC will “continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our intellectual property”.
If you would like any advice in respect of protecting your brand or intellectual property, please contact one of our experts to see how we can help.