Liverpool Football Club has succeeded in its long-held ambition to trademark the Liver bird, the symbol of the city of Liverpool.
Liverpool FC's plan was met with some resistance when the English Premier League (EPL) club announced their intentions some two years ago. And, after talks with Liverpool Council, the club initially agreed to abandon their bid.
Now, however, Liverpool FC have worked a deal with the city council and successfully won a trademark for the famous symbol through the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union (TMDREU) having applied in January of this year.
Council leader, Joe Anderson, said, “When Liverpool FC first raised the issue of registering the Liver bird logo, it caused a lot of concern that charities and other organizations which used the Liver bird on their literature and promotional material would be unable to do so in the future."
However, instead of limiting legitimate use of the symbol, the new deal between Liverpool Football Club and the city is intended to allow both organizations to crack down on the unlicensed use of the symbol in fake memorabilia, counterfeit shirt sales and other unofficial Liverpool merchandise.
"We are happy to help them in these aims and the agreement we reached means the club can protect its Liver Bird logo, other organizations can continue to use the Liver Bird and the council will be able to protect its design of the image. The Liver Bird belongs to the people of Liverpool and the council is committed to doing all it can to make sure it remains that way," Alderson added.
A spokesperson for Liverpool Football Club said, "Our position was always to solely seek to protect our specific version of the Liver bird to stop its use in counterfeit Liverpool FC merchandise. We never intended to challenge the usage by the council or other charity or community groups of their version of the Liver bird, and were delighted to work with the local authority on this matter.”
The trademark, granted in July, is valid until 2020 and covers a range of products from clothing to key rings with the potential to significantly boost Liverpool's income from licensing and merchandise sales by helping to put an end to a major counterfeit revenue stream.
"Licensing is a very sizeable contribution and it’s one that’s transformed over the last few years," Liverpool FC commercial director Ian Ayre told SportsPro. "We have a team that manages IP protection, trademarks, and they work with a series of individuals and organizations so, yes, we protect it as a football club, but we also work with the Premier League who work on behalf of all Premier League clubs, we work with Uefa who work on behalf of all European clubs, and we work with Adidas who work on behalf of all the people they make kit for. It's a constant battle but it's one we'll always fight, obviously because we want to protect our own revenue but also we want to protect the quality. In some cases it's easy to know the difference between a fake and a real one, but not always, and we don’t want people buying what they believe is quality product and it ends up being counterfeit."