The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has rejected Liverpool Football Club’s controversial application to trademark the word “Liverpool” for the purposes of “football products and services”.
Liverpool FC had insisted that it needed the trademark in order to prevent the sale of “inauthentic products”, such as unauthorized clothing, to its fans. In the event, it was Liverpool fans who were among the most outspoken in their opposition to Liverpool FC’s attempt to register the name of their city.
In its judgment, the IPO rejected the application on the basis of the particular “geographical significance” of the city of Liverpool as compared to other places. Other Premier League clubs such as Southampton and Chelsea have previously been successful in registering commercial trademarks in respect of their respective names.
The IPO’s decision was described as a “victory for common sense” by the club’s supporters union Spirit of Shankly, which said in a statement that “the word ‘Liverpool’ … belongs to the city of Liverpool and its people. We should all be allowed to use it freely, however we see fit, without fear of legal letters dropping through our doors”.
Liverpool FC CEO 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. Nevertheless, we accept the decision and the spirit in which it has been made”.