The nationals recently reported the Manchester United manager’s failed attempt to register his name as a trademark for printed matter, posters etc. But he still looks set to get ALEX FERGUSON registered in no less than seven other classes of goods and services.
Topic: People in advertising
Who: Sir Alex Ferguson
Where: The UK Trademarks Registry
When: October 2005
The UK Trademarks Registry rejected an application by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to register the name "Alex Ferguson" as a trade mark in respect of "printed matter; posters; photographs; transfers; stickers; decalcomanias; stickers relating to football" all in Class 16.
The application was filed in February 2003. The Registry raised objections to it because in the context of the relevant products, it believed the mark in question had no distinctive character. This was because the general public would not distinguish Sir Alex's image-carrying ALEX FERGUSON-branded goods from similar products provided by other traders. In other words there might be all sorts of posters, photographs and other printed matter out there carrying the name Alex Ferguson which the public would quite reasonably not imagine had come from the man himself.
This position remained unchanged despite Sir Alex's appeal to the Trade Mark Registry Hearing Officer, so subject to any further appeal by Sir Alex, he will not get a registration of his name in connection with these particular products.
Why this matters:
Ever keen to see the famous undone, the press greeted this verdict with gleeful headlines such as "Ferguson refused trademark on his name". This was highly misleading, because at the same time as Sir Alex had applied to registered his name as a trademark for goods in Class 16, he also filed applications to register the same trademark in connection with no less than 7 other classes of goods and services.
The other products included ornaments, pre-recorded DVDs, coins and medals, calendars, playing cards and magazines, clothing and footwear, games and play- things and football management services. The Trademark Registry raised no objection to any of these applications and they were advertised in the Trademarks Journal on 26 August 2005. The effect of this is that provided no objection is raised by a third party within three months of that date, all of these applications will go through smoothly to acceptance and registration.