Commemorative football shirt

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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WiseOwl
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Commemorative football shirt

Post by WiseOwl » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:19 am

Hi,

First post. I am a Sheffield Wednesday supporter, and like many of our fans I am disappointed that our club seems to have moved away from our traditional blue and white striped shirts, as our new owner doesn't like stripes :(

This year the club is 150 years old, and many supporters hoped we'd return to a traditional blue and white striped shirt but we haven't.

I would like to produce a commemorative shirt - basically a blue and white striped shirt featuring a '150 years' logo I have designed and the letters SWFC embroidered rather than a club badge.

The shirt will not be a replica of any shirt, but obviously it is in the style of a traditional Sheffield Wednesday shirt.

As I am not using a club badge and I will not market this as a copy of a particular shirt am I breaking any laws?

Thanks

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:55 pm

Hi WiseOwl,

I don't think there are any significant intellectual property issues with what you propose. An arrangement of alternating blue and white stripes is not sufficiently original to attract copyright, and I dare say many teams apart from Sheffield have played in variations of that pattern over the last century and a half. For much the same reason - that of a lack of distinctiveness - such a pattern would probably be ineligible for registration as a trade mark, although more to the point, Sheffield Wednesday FC haven't registered it as a mark, so you are in the clear on the basic shirt.

And since you have created your own emblen which you say does not include any the Club's emblems or badges, there is no problem with applying the emblem to the shirts. There are 2 principal marks which have registered by Sheffield Wednesday Football Club Ltd, the club coat of arms and the stylised owl. Follow the link below to see the marks.
https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmown ... 6&domain=1

The one area of possible concern is that of passing off. It is possible that if the club wished to object they might say that some fans would be confused into thinking that your shirt was somehow officially authorised as club memorabilia. To counter this you should make it as clear as possible when advertising and selling the shirts that they are not authorised merchandise.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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Post by WiseOwl » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:17 pm

Thanks for you reply AndyJ. It is much appreciated. If I go ahead with this I intend to sell the product from just one listing via a Facebook page - the Facebook page will be titled 'Sheffield Wednesday 150 shirt - Unofficial'. I will also mention that this is 'unofficial' merchandise' at other points throughout the sales process.

I have already created the page, but haven't as yet offered a shop tab or button. I cannot post a link as I don't have enough posts.


Do you think the mention of unofficial and the fact this will be the only place to purchase this shirt will suffice?

Thanks again

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:29 pm

WiseOwl wrote:Do you think the mention of unofficial and the fact this will be the only place to purchase this shirt will suffice?
So long as the 'unofficial' notice is prominent on the website, and that you also mention the fact to any customer you speak to / email personally, then that should suffice. I don't think that the fact yours will be the only place where someone can buy the shirt is strictly relevant, because some fans may be unaware of that fact and thus it does not help to dispel any confusion that the shirts might be authorised merchandise.

Obviously if the club are also putting out their own commemorative shirts and these are very different to yours, this will assist you because your potential customers (who are presumably keen fans) will be aware of the club's offering as well as yours and know the difference between them.
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Post by WiseOwl » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:55 am

Thanks. One of my worries was using 'SWFC'. Is this not an issue?

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Post by AndyJ » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:47 am

Hi WiseOwl,

No, I don't think you need worry. The letters on their own are not registered, and if you have stylised them in your design, that removes the likelihood that the club can claim infringement of any specific element of their trade marks which do contain the initials.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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Post by WiseOwl » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:27 pm

Excellent. Thanks

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