No surprise here! Liverpool FC fails to trade mark ‘City of Liverpool’
The UKIPO have rejected Liverpool FC’s controversial application to trade mark 'City of Liverpool FC'.
In July Liverpool FC made the now withdrawn application, under the class of 'clothing, footwear and headgear' in an attempt to minimize the sales of counterfeit goods. This unsurprisingly created much controversy which resulted in the application allegedly receiving several oppositions from both the mayor and numerous business owners living in the city.
The club who have a history dating back to the 18th century, has previously had some successful attempts registering ‘Liverpool FC’ and the abbreviation ‘LFC’ as trade marks, but it was not third time lucky for this team who in a statement said:
“The club accepts the decision that has been taken by the Intellectual Property Office, due primarily to what the official judgement cites as ‘the geographical significance’ of Liverpool as a city in comparison to place names that have been trademarked by other football clubs in the UK.”
So what is meant by ‘geographical significance’?
In accordance to section 3(1)(c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994, marks containing geographical terms or significance are not registrable.
The rationale for this condition is to prevent applicants in having a monopoly over a location and as such, prevent consumers from being influenced by, or associating a service and/or product to the location in a favorable manor. It is considered that these geographical marks should remain available as it is in the publics best interest. This is commonly known as the “need to keep free principle”.
Therefore as a general rule, when a trade mark is filed that includes a geographical term, it is highly likely that the application will be refused by the UKIPO.
If you have any questions relating to this article or would like to trade mark your brand, contact the Trademark room today where we would be happy to assist you!