In what is either a win for small, local, and independent manufacturers or a blow to the club’s ability to defend itself against large-scale knock-off suppliers, Liverpool Football Club have seen their efforts to trademark “Liverpool” in connection to football rejected.
“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,” said chief executive Peter Moore following today’s ruling by the Intellectual Property Office.
“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.”
The club had claimed that their efforts to trademark “Liverpool” was only ever intended to protect the club against fake and knock-off items and that it would not be used to crack down on the small and often local outfits who produce Liverpool shirts and memorabilia.
However, many of those local producers feared that even if the club were being honest about their goals and what they would do with a trademark in the present, longer-term there was a risk that a successful “Liverpool” trademark could potentially be abused.
There were also concerns voiced by other, smaller local clubs that use Liverpool as part of their club name or branding. Their concerns, as well as those of local, small-scale producers of shirts, hats, scarves, and other memorabilia, have in the end won out in this case.
A club statement further said that Liverpool FC will “continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our intellectual property” and that they hope this ruling will not hinder those efforts.