7 March 2018Trademarks

UK football club told to stop using trademarks

London-based football club have been told that they cannot use their own name or initials for trademark reasons.

The owner of the club’s football ground, property investment fund Meadow Partners, told Dulwich Hamlet on Monday, March 5 that its licence to play at the Champion Hill ground had been revoked.

This was followed by a letter from Blake Morgan, a law firm representing a new subsidiary of Meadow, Greendales IP. The football club was informed that ‘Dulwich Football Club’, ‘The Hamlet’ and ‘DHFC’ had been registered trademarks since October 2017.

The football club was asked to confirm that “references to all trademarks will be removed”, including in print and online activity.

“We were asked to provide advice on trademark law as part of our client’s complex discussion about land at Champion Hill,” a statement from Blake Morgan read.

“We’re aware commercial conversations between Meadow Partners and Dulwich Hamlet FC are ongoing, but are not party to these and cannot comment further.”

Dulwich Hamlet, established in 1893, is a non-professional football club that play in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

A statement from Dulwich Hamlet said they believe Meadow does not have grounds to serve such a notice and are currently consulting with solicitors on the matter.

“This comes on top of the £121,000 ($168,000) ‘back rent’ bill we were served last week,” the football club said.

“Meadow have not been in touch with the club recently, and have only communicated through their solicitors.”

The ownership of football clubs’ trademarks has triggered concerns in the past. In 2015, retailer Sports Direct took ownership of Rangers FC’s trademarks, causing some worry among their fans.

However, the club issued a statement saying that Sports Direct fully accepted that all of the IP rights registered in Sports Direct’s name would be returned to the club after a loan had been repaid.

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