from the liver-worst dept
Over the past couple of months, we have been discussing Liverpool FC, of the Premier League, attempting to get a trademark for “Liverpool” in a few soccer-related market designations. Despite the narrow scope of the application, the whole thing was still silly, given that “Liverpool” is purely geographic in nature, not to mention that there are several other independent Liverpool-area soccer clubs that would suddenly be infringing on Liverpool FC’s trademark if granted. Interestingly, there was also a rather severe backlash from the public, including from Liverpool fans themselves, who organized a protest against the club.
And now it turns out that all of that pain was for naught, as Liverpool FC has had its trademark application denied by the IPO.
Liverpool FC’s attempt to trademark the word “Liverpool” has been rejected by the government’s Intellectual Property Office due to the “geographical significance” of the city.
In a statement, Liverpool FC said: “The club accepts the decision that has been taken by the Intellectual Property Office, due primarily to what the official judgement cites as ‘the geographical significance’ of Liverpool as a city in comparison to place names that have been trademarked by other football clubs in the UK. We will, however, continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our intellectual property and would urge the relevant authorities to take decisive action against such criminal activity wherever it exists.”
It’s a sane ruling and the statement from Liverpool FC outlines exactly why its attempt to trademark its own city’s name to go after large-scale merch sellers that are infringing the club’s intellectual property was so wholly unnecessary. After all, here is the club stating that it’s going to go ahead and do that enforcement anyway. So what was the point?
You get the sense from the public comments from the team’s CEO that he, at least, understands what a total mess this all was.
Peter Moore, the club’s chief executive officer, 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. 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.”
Uh huh. What actually happened is that those traders, clubs, and the public rallied against what was an intrusive move to lock up the name of a famous city. Still, Moore does have to be diplomatic, I suppose, especially given what a PR nightmare this has become.
Let Liverpool FC serve as a warning, therefore, to any others that might want to apply for trademarks like this in the future.