The benefits of registering a trademark – from a sports club’s perspective

Posted by Jane on March 21, 2013 / Posted in Trade Marks
The benefits of registering a trade mark – from a sports club’s perspective

Registering a sports name or logo in the UK is an area in UK trade mark law which has seen rapid development. Typically trade marks within sport come in the form of club names, nicknames and emblems and the growing phenomenon is one which helps protect the essence of marketing and merchandising alike. A trade mark is said to signify the brand and protect the origin, quality and advertising of that brand, however the functions of trade marks in sport boast little consumer benefit compared to the benefits received from the trade mark owners.

As mentioned, the functions said to be attached to trade marks are that of origin, quality and advertising, with the latter function being of most importance in relation sports trade marks. This is due to the significant allegiance’s consumers have to their sports clubs, allowing trade mark proprietors to profit considerably in the process. The use of trademarks to market sport has brought great developments and many benefits for sports and supporters.

Figures show how lucrative the business of sport has become, with sports consumers in the year 2000 spending £15.2bn in the UK alone. This amounted to 3% of GDP and 2.5% of total world trade. This is mainly linked with the substantial growth in the popular media and sports coverage, so it is easy to understand why individual sports, clubs and other advertisers are seeking to reap the rewards from this financial interest. It is these statistics and statements which show the advertising function of registered trade mark to be clear and present.

Clubs rely on the goodwill of their trade marks to advertise their team and with success comes and inevitable increase in sales. A demonstration of a sports club registering their name as a trade mark is shown by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club when they applied to the UK Trade Marks Office to register the name ‘Tottenham’ as a trade mark for merchandising purposes. Despite opposing applications made by traders selling ‘Tottenham’ branded memorabilia outside the ground, it was confirmed that Tottenham over the years had come to mean the football club rather than the location and subsequently had their application accepted.

It is not only the big, well known sports clubs who register their club name or logo as a trade mark. It may be thought that it is only plausible, or worthwhile, for a large club such as Tottenham Hotspur FC to gain a trade mark registration however this is not the case. The trade mark registration process is typically less than £1000 and the benefits discussed above can help you recover that sum in no time.

Harry Jeffries

Southampton Solent Law Student

Jane Coyle
This entry was posted on March 21, 2013 and is filed under Trade Marks. You can follow our blog through the RSS 2.0 feed.