Wembley National Stadium Limited applied to the European Trade Mark Office to cancel Wembley Football Club’s European trade mark. The European cancellation division issued a decision to cancel the Club’s trade mark on 10 July 2017.
Wembley Stadium have stated that the Wembley FC’s trade mark of the lion is too confusingly similar to its trade mark of WEMBLEY STADIUM and therefore could cause confusion in the marketplace to supporters. Unfortunately the European Trade Mark Office agreed with Wembley Stadium.
This has come as a shock and a surprise to the Club as both the Club and the Stadium have peacefully existed together since 1946. The Club was unaware of the cancellation action at the time. The Club has now filed an appeal against the decision.
Wembley Stadium and Wembley FC have co-existed together without any confusion since 1946. There has been over 70 years of honest concurrent use. It is only now, some seventy years later that Wembley Stadium has taken exception to Wembley FC’s use of their trade mark.
Football supporters are really knowledgeable about not only their own, but all other football clubs whether in the league or not, it is doubtful that the supporters would be confused between Wembley Stadium and Wembley FC.
The figurative lion, in the Wembley FC mark is distinctive. The public will be aware that the Wembley Stadium marks refers to Stadium and that the Wembley FC marks refer to Wembley Football Club. One significant reason why trade mark registration is desired is to protect its interest from financial problems as a result of counterfeit goods relating to the Wembley Football Club.
Loyal football fans will immediately recognise the logo of their favourite football club. Likewise consumers will recognise the Stadium’s iconic arch and logo. The relevant public too will understand the differences between the marks and actively seek out the brand they are looking for.
These differences between the Club’s logo and Wembley Stadium’s trade marks are significant. This means that there would be no likelihood of confusion by the relevant consumers in relation to any of the goods and services and we are hopeful that the Appeal will overturn the cancellation decision and that Wembley Football Club’s trade mark will remain registered.