Liverpool FC Fans Plan Protest Of Their Own Club Over Trademark Issue

from the not-working dept

It was only a few weeks back that we were discussing Liverpool FC, a soccer team playing in the UK Premier League, attempting to get a trademark for “Liverpool”, the city in which it plays. While the club has made a point of reminding the public that its application is quite narrow, limited specifically to products and services revolving around soccer, that same public has pointed out there are both other indpendent soccer clubs in the city that would technically be infringing on that applied-for mark and that there is a culture of independent retailers selling fan gear that would get caught up in this as well. Liverpool FC, meanwhile, maintains that it wouldn’t go after either group, but instead are interested only in protecting its fans from mass-makers of counterfeit apparel and the like.

Which makes it somewhat strange that it’s those very fans that are now organizing a protest against the team for its attempt to trademark the city’s name.

Liverpool fans are mobilising again. This time it is not in pursuit of glory or organising a massive trek to watch the men in red. They are protesting against the club, a situation the Kop had hoped was consigned to the past.

The Spirit of Shankly Supporters Union (SOS) has called for a show of strength during Saturday’s English Premier League fixture against Newcastle United. A decade ago demonstrations were a regular occurrence.

There’s a culture for this sort of thing for the Liverpool FC, it’s true. Still, it’s not great for the message from Liverpool FC that it’s doing all of this for the fans, when it’s those same fans that are telling them to knock it off.

It remains to be seen exactly how big this protest is going to be, but it’s been clear thus far that the soccer club doesn’t have any serious support from the public in this move it says is for that same public. And not only is the everyday Joe Soccer Fan concerned. Even Liverpool’s mayor has come out stating concern should Liverpool FC have its trademark approved.

Moore has said these independent operators are not the target of the trademark application. It is “not about local traders, it is about large-scale operations that are flooding the market,” he tweeted. The club will, he suggests, come up with a system that will enable them to continue. That idea creates issues of its own, such as cost and the selection process.

These assurances have not been enough to assuage many people within the city, including Joe Anderson, the mayor. SOS have asked fans “to support unique independent businesses by wearing a piece of their merchandise” on Saturday. It is a mild shot across the bows that SOS, with characteristic wit, are calling “Independents Day”.

At this point, it’s hard to see how any of this worth the trouble for Liverpool FC. Probably time to just cut your losses, guys.

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Comments on “Liverpool FC Fans Plan Protest Of Their Own Club Over Trademark Issue”

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19 Comments
[This space would be blank except must be noted.] says:

Ownership culture is calling it "their own club"!

It’s not theirs, now is it? Did persons initiate this trademark only to protest it? Or are there in fact two distinct sets of actors? One group pure of heart protesting against the wicked grasp of the other group?

Also, it is noted with heavy heart that, yet again, a by-line claims ownership on a block of text, as if it is "owned". But of course it is not owned. It’s only that frail human vanity desires to possess what labor has made.

Set text and spirit free! No by-lines from now on! Merge into the cosmic comic-consciousness!

Saddest of all is of course the entity that goes by the proprietary text of "Mike Masnick", which believes to have first quipped the immortal words "Streisand Effect". But even the very name is taken, wrested against will, from another Poor Spirit, and used to torture ever since! Shame! Profit from misery! — Set Free The Immortal Quip! Mere text and sound. It is not to be owned. It cannot be owned! Any number may quip it, singly and in chorus! Yet nothing is lost except vanity! Let it never again be written here. Only without least of ownership may True Enlightenment be found.

Nor can be owned the HTML input form where some unaccountable entity offers a blank space to give the world’s passing texts a refuge, that may abide in cyber-space forever.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The US of A needs to trademark "FOOTBALL" to keep th

And yet the name was still appropriated from the original game the USA decided to rename to "soccer". America is the only nation on earth that calls that game "soccer". The rest of the world calls it "football".

That’s a sign of a cult: Appropriating terms and inventing new ones.

UriGagarin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The US of A needs to trademark "FOOTBALL" to kee

Not strictly true – soccer comes from association football , soccer is the diminutive, like rugger is for rugby football. I think it was a public school term (Eton/Winchester/Harrow, not Sudbury Comprehensive)

The history of the game of football has many offshoots, and while being a Brit and seeing football in the US for a type of Rugby/concussion by consent is weird its not strictly wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

No one should be able to trademark the name of A city,
its owned by the people for the people .And the tax payers who pay to keep it going, who keep it safe ,who maintain the services to make it a good place to live.
certainly not a private company who will threaten small local companys or traders who dare to use the name of the city they live in.
If traders want to use the name liverpool on merch let them do so,
I do,nt think a single company would be allowed to trademark allowed
to trademark the word,s new york city, or san diego and than proceed
to sell any shop or trader that use,s the name of the city.
EG new york coffee shop ,
new york deli .
They are going for a trademark because they are a premiership soccer team
and the market for soccer merch is worth billions as they have fans
all over the world .
They want to be able to sue anyone who uses the word liverpool on merch or clothing , whether its related to sport or anything else .
The premiership soccer league is like the Uk version
of the nfl in america.

Anonymous Coward says:

The fans are justified...

Liverpool FC, meanwhile, maintains that it wouldn’t go after either group, but instead are interested only in protecting its fans from mass-makers of counterfeit apparel and the like.

1) the fans only need protecting if the counterfeit apparel is even shoddier¹ than the stuff the club licenses. So, nope.

2) Liverpool FC could register for the trademark jointly with the other clubs, if they wanted. Registering solo renders a monopoly to the club. And power unused will be seen as power wasted, sooner or later.

And even then, the independent retailers would be "counterfeiters" automatically unless they paid a vig to the group. So again, nope.

¹… and you can bet that the quality of the official Merch is "only as good as it needs to be".

That One Guy (profile) says:

'You'll still get hit, you're just not the target.'

(Freakin’ Enter key right next to the ‘ one…)

Moore has said these independent operators are not the target of the trademark application. It is “not about local traders, it is about large-scale operations that are flooding the market,” he tweeted. The club will, he suggests, come up with a system that will enable them to continue. That idea creates issues of its own, such as cost and the selection process.

Nice of them to shoot their own excuse right in the foot there. On one hand they say that independent operators aren’t the target, yet right after that they admit that those same independent operators will be impacted by the trademark if it’s granted, making clear that their concerns are absolutely valid and justified.

It doesn’t matter if the stated target isn’t the smaller, independent crafters in the town if they’re still going to be impacted, and by their own admission that will most certainly be the case if the trademark is granted. In addition just because the current people applying for the trademark claim that they wouldn’t use it offensively against independent operators there’s no guarantee that a shift in management or even just someone’s greed getting the better of them wouldn’t result in that very thing coming to pass, and at that point protesting wouldn’t likely accomplish much.

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