24 February 2020TrademarksRory O'Neill

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drop ‘Sussex Royal’ TMs

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have agreed to drop the ‘Sussex Royal’ brand and withdraw pending UK and EU trademark applications, amid controversy over their future roles.

As reported last week, the couple’s continued use of the brand appeared increasingly untenable amid disagreement with the rest of the royal family.

A statement published on the couple’s website on Friday night stated that they do not “intend to use ‘Sussex Royal’ or any iteration of the word ‘Royal’ in any territory” from spring 2020.

They have also withdrawn trademark applications for the term, which was to be the name of a new charitable foundation.

The couple said the trademark applications had been filed as “protective measures”.

It had previously been agreed at a meeting with the royal family in January that continued use of the term ‘royal’ would “need to be reviewed”.

In addition, lawyers told WIPR last week that UK trademark law could be a thorn in the side of the couple.

The UK Trade Marks Act states that any trademarks which could be perceived as having the approval of the royal family, require the consent of the Queen or relevant member of the family.

The post on the Sussex Royal website clarifies that “there is not any jurisdiction by the monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word ‘royal’ overseas”.

While the couple remains committed to establishing a new “non-profit organisation”, they have clarified that it will not take the form of a new foundation as previously planned.

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More on this story

21 February 2020   A UK law which likely requires the Queen’s consent to register ‘Sussex Royal’ as a trademark may leave Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with little choice but to drop the brand, lawyers have told WIPR.
12 February 2021   Meghan Markle has won her privacy and copyright infringement case against the Mail on Sunday, which published extracts of a letter she wrote to her father.
8 March 2021   The Mail on Sunday must publish a front-page statement acknowledging a court judgment finding it infringed Meghan Markle’s copyright and violated her privacy.