Liverpool v Liverpool

Not wishing to be the Kat among the pigeons, the IPKat has been advised by his friend Ben Wilkinson that a cute little spat has arisen over the application of the mighty Liverpool Football Club to register the Liverbird element of its famous badge as a United Kingdom trade mark for goods in Classes 6, 14, 16, 18, 31 and 25 in the face of opposition from local politicians. The application can found here.

Clickliverpool has published a news item which begins with a horrendous solecism in its title "Liverpool FC to copyright Liverbird?" It then goes on to report on the objections raised by Liverpool City Council to what it sees as the misappropriation of a symbol of the city that is used by hundreds of other organisations, charities, voluntary groups and sports clubs. The football club is unrepentent, pointing out that it loses millions a year in counterfeit sales and that it is only seeking to register the Liverbird in the form that appears on its crest.

The IPKat can see both sides of the dispute, but wonders even so whether it is right to allow registration. If the bird is represented in many different forms, and Liverpool's registration covers it in respect of uses of similar marks as well as the identical mark, it is bound to tread on the toes of other legitimate users or inhibit their own brand extension activities, but if protection is not granted against the unauthorised use of similar marks it probably won't be much good. Merpel says, I see that Liverpool FC is seeking to register the mark for "trophies" in Class 14. Wishful thinking?

The liver bird here
The Liver Birds here
More Liver Birds here
Liverpool v Liverpool Liverpool v Liverpool Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, November 18, 2008 Rating: 5


  1. Not being from Liverpool or following football, I'm confused. If the Liver bird isn't unique to the football team but is used generally, when a counterfeiter uses only the Liver bird and not the whole shield how would we know it's a reference to the football team?

  2. shouldn't that be Kopyright, anyway?!

  3. I've got a mug with the Liver Building (and therefore the Liver Birds on it) - does that mean it's counterfeit in Liverpool FC's eyes?

  4. lol@Kopyright comment
    I think, if the Liver Bird is used alone, seperately from any other LFC symbol, it should be ok, as long as the City proves that it has been used in the past in non-LFC-related situations (ie. by authorities as a city symbol and trade mark).
    Liverpool FC should be able though to register the Liver Bird in that context (ie. part of the shield).
    So, I think that LFC should have its application admitted by the Registry, remaining for the extent of the protection (of its object to be more precise) to depend on whether the City or whoever opposes thsi application can prove that it has been used as a trade mark by them as well.

    Cosmin (Liverpool fan)

  5. Is n't the big story that Liverpool use a Manchester based law firm? Could they not find a Spanish trade mark attorney?

  6. Actually, the club is pulling its Liver Bird application, instead cooperating with the Liverpool city council to crack down on counterfeiting. See more details from the Liverpool Echo, and chalk one up (if a bit belatedly) for common sense.


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