10 May 2018Trademarks

UK America’s Cup team changes name after ‘Team GB’ clash

The UK’s America’s Cup team has reportedly changed its name after the British Olympic Association ( BOA) said it could not use the ‘Team GB’ trademark.

The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy and is a competition between two sailing yachts—the defender and the challenger.

Last month, petrochemical company Ineos announced that it had teamed up with Ben Ainslie, a four-time Olympic sailing gold medallist, in a bid to win the America’s Cup for the UK.

The team, initially named Ineos Team GB, has invested £110 million ($150 million)—the largest-ever investment by a British company in the America’s Cup.

However, Bill Sweeney, CEO of the BOA, said there was never an agreement for Ineos to use the ‘Team GB’ trademark.

Speaking to WIPR, Sweeney said: “To be able to take athletes to the Olympic Games and to fund the Ambition Programme for aspiring young athletes, the ‘Team GB’ trademark must be fully protected.”

The BOA launched the Ambition Programme in 2016 to offer aspiring Olympic athletes and their coaches the opportunity to have an “inside experience” of an Olympic Games.

Sweeney said that using the trademark without consent would deny athletes these opportunities. He added that although the BOA had encouraged further partnership discussions with Ineos, the company had rejected them.

According to online publication Stuff NZ, the Ineos-backed campaign will now be known as Ineos Team UK.

Ineos declined to comment on the matter.

Before Ineos climbed on board, Ainslie’s team was known as Land Rover BAR, with BAR standing for Ben Ainslie Racing.

The next America’s Cup will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2021. If Ainslie is successful, it will be the first time the UK has won the challenge since winning in the tournament’s opening year of 1851.

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