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Football Team Names Copyright

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:10 am
by Ratbag
Hello. Thanks for your help on here. This is my first post.

I currently sell baby vests and bibs online, and have had quite a few problems with companies complaining about my products.

For example. One of my baby vests says "Born To Play For Tottenham Hotspur" This does not have any logo on, or anything like that, it is just the words.

I have had a complaint about this, due to using Tottenham Hotspur. Is there any way around this, for example can i put Unofficial Merchandise on there somewhere. I have looked at changing this to just Tottenham, but it looks like Tottenham Hotspur own the copyright for this.

Any advice would be grate, as im only a small trader, but would like everything to be legal.

Thanks

Stuart

Re: Football Team Names Copyright

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:31 am
by Nick Cooper
Ratbag wrote:Hello. Thanks for your help on here. This is my first post.

I currently sell baby vests and bibs online, and have had quite a few problems with companies complaining about my products.

For example. One of my baby vests says "Born To Play For Tottenham Hotspur" This does not have any logo on, or anything like that, it is just the words.

I have had a complaint about this, due to using Tottenham Hotspur. Is there any way around this, for example can i put Unofficial Merchandise on there somewhere. I have looked at changing this to just Tottenham, but it looks like Tottenham Hotspur own the copyright for this.

Any advice would be grate, as im only a small trader, but would like everything to be legal.
There has already been a battle over the trademark on the single word "Tottenham" and - somewhat inevitably - the club won. You can read about it here and here. On the other hand, they backed down on this one over the single word "Hotspur," because there was solid non-football reasoning behind its use.

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:23 am
by Ratbag
Thanks for your reply. Do you know if using "Unofficial Merchandise" and "All rights and trademarks are property of their respectful owners" enables me to sell the goods?

Im not using logos, etc, just the names.

Thanks

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:38 pm
by Nick Cooper
Ratbag wrote:Thanks for your reply. Do you know if using "Unofficial Merchandise" and "All rights and trademarks are property of their respectful owners" enables me to sell the goods?

Im not using logos, etc, just the names.
There are some areas where using "unofficial" or "unauthorised" is advisable (e.g. books on specific films or TV programmes, or biographies), but the sort of things you're looking at wouldn't be one of them.

Generally speaking anything that that clearly refers to only one football club almost certainly will get stamped on, but you might get away with something that can be argued to not refer to more than one club.

"Born to Play for United" would be OK, unless it was something in the colours that could only be one "United" team. Using non-unique colours, or having a slogan with them, should be OK, e.g. "Born to Play in Blue and White."