In a developing story, where all the facts are not yet clear, Wembley National Stadium (“WNS”) has successfully applied to invalidate Wembley Football Club (“WFC”)’s 2012 EU registered trade mark.
WFC registered its mark, in the form of its shield, name and Latin motto, in 2012, around the time the club was sponsored by beer giant Budweiser. Had it wanted to, WNS – the owner of numerous earlier ‘Wembley’ trade marks – could have opposed it during the 3-month publication at that time. Instead, it allowed the mark to proceed to registration.
The marks concerned relate to a wide range of overlapping goods and services in several classes of the register.
In October last year, for whatever reason, WNS decided it was not happy with the situation and filed an invalidation action at the EU Intellectual Property Office, to cancel WFC’s mark. This time, WFC had the chance to defend its registration, but – for whatever reason – did not. The word ‘Wembley’ is of course common to both, and this was held to be a dominant element in the marks. In the absence of a defence, the EUIPO decided the matter on the applicant’s papers, and granted the application.
WFC now has a limited time in which to appeal the decision, should it choose to do so, and have the grounds.
We shall continue to watch from the sidelines….