It is the sort of David versus Goliath tussle that would electrify the third round of the FA Cup — a bitter legal dispute has broken out between the home of English football and a tiny north London club.
Wembley FC, which has a gas fitter, lorry driver and solicitor in its team, has been told by the EU’s Intellectual Property Office that it must give up the trademark registered for its club logo.
The ruling comes after a complaint by Wembley stadium, which is owned by the Football Association (FA), governing body of the game in England. The stadium has a capacity of 90,000, a far cry from Wembley FC’s ground at Vale Farm with its capacity of 2,450.
In 2012 the club registered the trademark, with a lion’s head on a shield beneath the word “Wembley”, to cover branding on goods, such as clothes and alcoholic drinks. The FA, which failed to object when the trademark was filed, is now blocked from selling certain Wembley-branded merchandise in countries across Europe. It was claimed that the club’s logo used “Wembley” as its distinctive feature.
The EU agency said the “English-speaking part of the public” could easily confuse the club with the national stadium and ruled in favour of the FA. The club has appealed.
Brian Gumm, Wembley FC’s chairman, said: “It’s like David and Goliath and it’s costing me money that I can ill afford. They’ve not offered us a penny for it and they just want to come in and take it.
“I want to show you can’t come in and railroad people just because you are who you are. I’m only doing it out of principle.”
The FA said: “We take the enforcement of our intellectual property seriously and only take action as a last resort when an amicable resolution does not seem possible.”
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