In a bizarre case this week, a non-league UK football team have been told they can no longer use their name or initials after their landlord applied to trademark them to prevent them from using it.
Dulwhich Hamlet have been targetted by the landowner of their grounds in Dulwhich, south of London, as he wants to build properties on the land instead. As he could not get them off the land any other way, the landlord has instead filed intellectual property to shut the team down from a different angle as they will no longer be able to use their own name without breaking the law.
Dulwich were presented with a cease and desist letter earlier this week on behalf of ‘Greendales IP LLC’ – a brand new subsidiary of property investment fund Meadow, who currently own Champion Hill. The letter was from solicitors Blake Morgan LLP and it informed that club that Dulwich Hamlet Football Club’, ‘The Hamlet’ and ‘DHFC’ had been registered as trademarks on 17 October 2017 and demanded that those trademarks “no longer be used on any printed literature and any online activity including websites and Twitter”.
A Meadow spokesman told The Independent that “Meadow’s issue is with the club’s owner and board attacking Meadow in public, not with the fans or the wider community.” Meadow bought Champion Hill for £5.7m four years ago but have been unable to develop it after losing a legal battle with Southwark Council last October.
Interestingly, former England and Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand is watching the situation with interest after his affordable housing group Legacy Foundation bid £10m to save the club just before Christmas. Ferdinand, a close friend of Dulwich manager Gavin Rose since childhood, wants Legacy to build affordable housing in compliance with Southwark’s requirements, as well as providing a new ground and funding for the football club.