Liverpool FC fail in controversial bid to trademark the word ‘Liverpool’

Club’s attempt to trademark angered local traders and other football clubs

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Thursday 26 September 2019 12:35
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Liverpool Football Club’s controversial attempt to trademark the word ‘Liverpool’ has failed after their application was rejected by the Intellectual Property Office.

The club moved to trademark the city’s name “in the context of football products and services” during the summer, sparking anger among local businesses, smaller football clubs and the club’s own supporters.

Liverpool claimed that a trademark was necessary in order to protect the club and its fans from counterfeit merchandising and products.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are among a number of Premier League clubs to successfully trademark their names in the past.

However, the IPO has ruled that the “geographical significance” of Liverpool as a city means that the club cannot lay sole claim to the name.

In a statement, a Liverpool spokesperson said they accepted the decision but will “continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our intellectual property”.

Peter Moore, Liverpool’s chief executive officer, added: “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.

“Nevertheless, we accept the decision and the spirit in which it has been made. I would also like to take the opportunity to reiterate our thanks to all those who engaged with us throughout this process, most notably independent traders and local football clubs.”

Spirit of Shankly, the Liverpool’s supporters group, welcomed the verdict as a “victory for common sense”, having led a protest against the trademark at the home victory over Newcastle United earlier this month.

“SOS were clear at the outset that the word ‘Liverpool’ is not for [Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owners] or anybody else to own – it belongs to the city of Liverpool and its people," the group said in a statement.

“We should all be allowed to use it freely, however we see fit, without fear of legal letters dropping through our doors. LFC have enough legal remedies from their current trademarks to address any issues they may have. Any more is unnecessary.”

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