Use of the ECB Logo or any part of it

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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cricketman
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Use of the ECB Logo or any part of it

Post by cricketman » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:03 pm

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I run a Cricket Umpires equipment company and I am moving into the clothing market. I am however presented with a bit of a roadblock. Most of the people who would likely buy my clothing want it to have the ECB logo attached to it, however, having spoken to the ECB about using the logo, their response was less than accommodating, for obvious reasons. So I did some digging and found several variations of the logo and it got me wondering, how can I alter the logo so that I am not breaking any laws? Is this even possible? Please accept my apologies if I am being naive, this is a genuine question. There was even a suggestion on one article that I read, that it is not in fact protected by law at all, as it contains the three lions of England, and no one owns the rights to that?

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AndyJ
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Re: Use of the ECB Logo of any part of it

Post by AndyJ » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:58 pm

Hi cricketman,
Let's deal with your last point first. The ECB's logo is correctly registered as a UK trade mark (details here and here). Both marks have been registered for Class 25 (Clothing) as well as for a number of other classes (eg class 18 for luggage including cricket bags). I'm afraid the three lions angle is a red herring, if you will excuse my mixed metaphor.

So from that starting point, you would need to consider whether to run the risk of infringing a registered mark. Given that the purpose of you using a logo which is similar to the registered mark would be to give the impression that the clothing is somehow associated with the ECB, that would almost certainly amount to trade mark infringement if it was done without the ECB's permission, and also leave you open to a claim of passing off.

What the law says about this is to be found in section 10(2)(b) of the Trade Marks Act 1994:
10 Infringement of registered trade mark.

(1) A person infringes a registered trade mark if he uses in the course of trade a sign which is identical with the trade mark in relation to goods or services which are identical with those for which it is registered.

(2) A person infringes a registered trade mark if he uses in the course of trade a sign where because—
  • (a) the sign is identical with the trade mark and is used in relation to goods or services similar to those for which the trade mark is registered, or

    (b) the sign is similar to the trade mark and is used in relation to goods or services identical with or similar to those for which the trade mark is registered,
there exists a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, which includes the likelihood of association with the trade mark.
On that basis I think that in order to not infringe (nor to be sufficient for a passing off claim) your version of the logo would have to be so dissimilar as to be impractical for your purpose.

Presumably the ECB have already appointed their own approved suppliers of clothing bearing their trade mark and are therefore unwilling to also licence you to use their mark. However if the cricket officials who are your potential customers are themselves accredited to the ECB, it may be they are entitled to wear the emblem, so they may be able to source the badge elsewhere and arrange to have it sewn onto clothing they have purchased from a non-approved supplier, such as yourself perhaps. To that extent the logo would be acting as a certification mark. As that is a fairly arcane subject, I won't clutter up this response with too much detail (you can read more here). Suffice it to say certification marks indicate that a person or business has attained a certain quality standard, for instance, a tradesman who is suitably qualified being allowed to display the Gas Safe logo on his van and stationery etc.

I hope this clarifies matters a little.
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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