4 July 2018Trademarks

Roger Federer confident Nike will hand over ‘RF’ logo

Defending Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has said he is confident he will obtain the rights to the ‘RF’ logo.

The signature brand is currently owned by Nike, which first entered into a sponsorship deal with the tennis star in 1994. Twelve years later, in 2006, Nike designed a personalised cardigan for Federer displaying the ‘RF’ monogram.

The US Patent and Trademark Office registered Nike’s ‘RF’ trademark in 2010 under registration number 3,838,371, covering apparel including shirts, jackets and headwear.

Federer’s contract with Nike expired in March 2018, and the sport brand still owns the rights to the ‘RF’ signature. This means that the tennis champion was unable to wear the monogram when he made his 2018 Wimbledon debut earlier this week despite brandishing it for more than ten years.

The 20-time grand slam champion is now sponsored by Japan-based brand Uniqlo.

Upon winning his first round match at this year’s Wimbledon, on Monday, July 2, Federer confirmed that while the logo is owned by Nike, he is confident it will return to him.

“I hope sooner rather than later, Nike can be nice and helpful in the process to bring it over to me because it is also something that is very important for me ...for the fans really,” he said at a press briefing.

“They are my initials,” he continued. “The good thing is they’re not theirs (Nike) forever so in a short period of time they will come to me.”

Federer added that he hoped Uniqlo merchandise containing the ‘RF’ monogram will be available at the beginning of next year.

Jacqueline Pang, trademark attorney at Mewburn Ellis, said that Nike has a strong legal position over the ownership of the ‘RF’ logo.

“It owns a number of trademark registrations around the world for the ‘RF’ logo and presumably also owns the copyright,” she said.

“Barring anything in the contract to the contrary, it could retain ownership of the brand and continue to exploit it. In that case, it would also be in a position to prevent Federer or any third parties (ie, Uniqlo) from using the ‘RF’ logo or anything similar for clothing and related goods.”

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