30 September 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

UKIPO rejects controversial ‘Liverpool’ TM

Liverpool FC has failed in its controversial bid to register a trademark for the name of the city with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO), a move which sparked anger among businesses and other local football clubs.

In a statement, Liverpool FC said that it accepted the IPO’s decision, which was based primarily on the “geographical significance” of Liverpool as a city.

“We will, however, continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our IP and would urge the relevant authorities to take decisive action against such criminal activity wherever it exists,” the club said.

The move to register ‘Liverpool’ as a trademark was met with fierce opposition in the city, including from the mayor Joe Anderson and other local clubs.

In a statement, City of Liverpool FC, which plays in the seventh tier of English football, told Liverpool FC that “the name Liverpool in a football context does not belong to you”.

Anderson said that he valued “our relationship with LFC and we will work to help remove counterfeit goods, but we will also protect local traders and our brand”.

Liverpool FC said that the application was solely designed to protect its IP in the context of sporting goods and prevent the spread of counterfeits.

Commenting on the IPO’s decision, Liverpool FC chief executive Peter Moore said: ”It should be stressed that our application was put forward in good faith and with the sole aim of protecting and furthering the best interests of the club and its supporters.”

Harrison Lee, attorney at Potter Clarkson, said that the IPO’s verdict was “not entirely surprising”.

“Granting a monopoly to the football club to use the name ‘Liverpool’ for goods and services was considered unjust by the IPO, since this might adversely affect the ability of others to indicate the source of their goods or services,” Lee said.

Lee said that, in accepting the IPO’s refusal of its mark, Liverpool FC may have simply decided to “cut its losses”. This may have been in light of the significant expense of defending the application against a likely slew of oppositions, he added.

Liverpool FC are the reigning European champions after victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League final in May. They currently sit top of the Premier League table having won all seven of their matches so far this season.

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26 July 2019   Liverpool FC’s move to register ‘Liverpool’ as a trademark has provoked controversy on social media from local clubs that fear the move will damage their business.