Football clubs aim to kick counterfeiters into touch by trademarking ‘Albion’

News Article

Three professional football clubs are attempting to protect their intellectual property by attempting to trademark the word ‘Albion.’

Premier League football club Brighton & Hove Albion has applied to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to trademark the words. The south coast-based team is joining Championship side West Bromwich Albion and League One team Burton Albion who are all attempting to protect the ‘Albion’ portion of their brands to prevent counterfeiting.

Brighton & Hove Albion is understood to have already begun legal proceedings and a successful application could protect their commercial assets and rights from exploitation.

Reports suggest the IPO has now ‘advertised’ the application, meaning the trade mark has been deemed ‘distinctive’ and is likely to be granted in the coming months providing it does not face legal opposition.

The move comes after Premier league rival Liverpool failed in its attempt to trade mark the club’s name. Issuing a statement in October last year, the Merseyside football club said their application to trade mark the word ‘Liverpool’ in the context of football products and services had been “unsuccessful”.

“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 trade marked by other football clubs in the UK,” said a club spokesperson.

Luke Morgan, a Partner with Palmers, who specialises in IP law, said: “While Liverpool failed to trade mark its city’s name, other Premier League sides have been more successful.

“In 2013, Tottenham became a registered trade mark for all goods and services relating to Premier League side Tottenham FC, while Chelsea FC was granted a trade mark for the word ‘Chelsea’ – but only for “goods relating to and/or bearing indicia of Chelsea Football Club”.

The problem of counterfeit goods is a particular issue for UK football clubs that rely on merchandising as a significant revenue stream. In 2018 (the most recent data available), some 160,000 counterfeit Premier League items were seized worldwide.

For help and advice on all aspects on intellectual property law including protecting your company’s brand, get in touch with our expert team.

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