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Liverpool™ or Liverpool® – a spot of kerfuffle over who owns the name

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Anyone who knows their Liverpool history, will know that not only was it a city, like Bristol, centrally involved in the slave trade, but that it has a couple of football clubs close to each other.  And it seems one of those clubs of that ilk has a thing about its name.  A story which I am going to try and tell.

Our story begins with a club called Everton, which played in a ground owned by the one time Lord Mayor of Liverpool, John Houlding.

The ex-Mayor wanted to raise the rent on the ground (rather as the landlord of the Invicta Stadium in Plumstead did for Woolwich Arsenal in 1892 – the same year as the Everton dispute arose in fact) And so when Everton wouldn’t pay up, the club moved down the road to Goodison.  In fact just as Woolwich Arsenal moved across the road to the Manor Ground.  (It was obviously a thing for landlords to do at the time – up the rent and say “pay or go.”)

Left with an empty stadium Mr Houlding decided to set up a new club – which he called Liverpool.   All very similar to the landlord and his gang at Arsenal forming Royal Ordnance Factories FC and ending up playing in the Arsenal’s previous home – the Invicta Stadium, opposite the Manor Ground.

Interestingly the rent increase proposed for Everton (a rise of 250%) was again similar to that proposed for Arsenal, although Arsenal, being in London, were paying a much higher rent anyway, and the new Invicta rent proposed for Arsenal would have been far and away the highest paid by any club anywhere.

But in the case of Liverpool, there was then an extra twist because the owner of the Anfield ground tried to retain not only the stadium (which of course he could do as he was the owner) but also the name “Everton”.    He even went so far as to register the name “Everton Football Club and Athletic Grounds Company, Limited” with Companies House – the UK’s central registration point for all limited companies.

But irrespective of what the company was called the Football League ruled that the name Everton belonged to the original club, and that the naming of the ground did not affect the naming of the club.  So the owner of the now empty Anfield ground set about founding Liverpool Football Club.

Now you might think that Liverpool FC was by the 21st century famous enough already, what with it holding the city’s name, and with it having the second most number of wins of the top division in its many guises.   So do they really need to protect their name?  I guess so, and maybe the fact that they have won the Premier League fewer times than Blackburn Rovers or Leicester City makes them feel a bit inferior.

Of course I can’t read minds so I don’t know the thinking, but what is clear is that Liverpool FC has been trying to register the word “Liverpool” as a trademark.  That would have allowed them to write their club name as  Liverpool®.   Possibly they might then have insisted that all the signs in the city and on the motorways etc would have had to direct people to Liverpool® as well.

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But there is a central office of government known as the Intellectual Property Office which handles such matters and they said “no”, so the club is now stuck with Liverpool™.   The TM in little letters means that the owners think they have a trade mark, but the state doesn’t agree so it isn’t real.

The idea of course is a financial one – if the word “Liverpool” were to be registered as a trade mark it would stop anyone else using the word without paying money by way of a licence fee to Liverpool FC.  Thus in theory that could have meant that local residents would have had to pay extra in tax so that their council could continue to call itself “Liverpool”.

Liverpool™ said that ,“We will, however, continue to aggressively pursue those large-scale operations which seek to illegally exploit our intellectual property and would urge the relevant authorities to take decisive action against such criminal activity wherever it exists.”  Thus incidentally showing that not only are they not au fait with the law on trademarks, their grammar isn’t up to much either.  Split infinitives indeed!  Did their PR department not do English at skool?

Of course we shall acknowledge their right to protect themselves by referring to the club at all times from now on as Liverpool ™ as that seems only fair.   Indeed we did edge towards such thinking some time ago when we used to list them in the league table as Liverpool! – a reflection of the way in which media commentators generally wrote and spoke about them.    Actually maybe it was Liverpool! that made them want to become Liverpool™.

That exclamation got lost somewhere a few years ago, but this is a good reminder, and Liverpool™ seems to sum up the club and its view of itself rather well.

And I must seriously add a note about Spirit of Shakly football supporters union, which opposed the move towards the trade mark registration.  Nice to see.

12 comments to Liverpool™ or Liverpool® – a spot of kerfuffle over who owns the name

  • Alkesh Solanki

    Shankly not Shakly dare I suggest.

  • Kevin

    Stupid article written in an infantile style. While the basis of the story is true – Liverpool FC did want to own the name ‘Liverpool’, it is only in relation to FOOTBALL merchandise. In other words, if a rogue manufacturer wanted to produce a tee-shirt they would not be able to use the team name. It’s a pity the author can only see the opportunity to write a prurient piece rather than write with accuracy.

  • Now let us consider for a moment that this is true – that it is a stupid article written in an infantile style. What on earth would make anyone who can see it for what it, take the time to write a reply. I mean, do you think you will change the writer’s mind? Or perhaps think that regular readers of Untold’s humorous pieces will think, oh yes, all these years I have been ready infantile stuff, I had better stop.
    The point is of course that different humour appeals to different people. If everyone appreciate the same type of humour that would make the world a far less richer place.
    The question thus becomes, why does the writer of such a comment think that because he cannot see the humour, it is “stupid”? Does that not say quite a lot about the writer?
    Or not as the case may be.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Half time at Borehamwood in our Women’s WSL match against Brighton and we lead by two nil. Kim Little got the first and Miedema with the second. So far so good.

  • Gord

    Congratulations to the women on their win!

  • Gord

    VAR manipulated in Spain.

    https://www.marca.com/en/football/spanish-football/2019/09/29/5d908dd022601d8b5b8b4575.html

    Mediapro (Spain) is the company providing VAR service to Spain. They do have a London (UK) office. I wonder if 😈 Mike Riley has been in to visit with them yet?

  • Gord

    The WSL Standings, assuming Chel$ don’t score more (0-3)

    Arsenal 3 3 0 0 6 9
    Man$ity 3 3 0 0 4 9
    Chel$ea 3 2 1 0 4 7
    Everton 3 2 0 1 2 6
    Spuds__ 3 2 0 1 2 6
    ManU___ 3 1 0 2 0 3
    Reading 2 1 0 1 -1 3
    StateAd 3 1 0 2 -2 3
    Brightn 3 0 2 1 -4 2
    Bristol 3 0 1 2 -5 1
    BirmHam 2 0 0 2 -2 0
    Liverpl 3 0 0 3 -4 0

  • goonersince72

    Tony,

    I still think ‘Liverpool!’ says it all.

  • Nitram

    I much prefer the humorous songs about Liverpool never ever doing anything wrong. I mean they really crack me up.

    I doubt they see the humour in them either.

    Or the humorous articles about the way Liverpool have bought up all the property around the ground.

    But again, I doubt they see the humour in them either.

    Considering how scousers are supposed to be the funniest folk in the land, at least according to scousers, it’s a bit odd how they seem to lose their funny bone when it’s at their expense.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Leicester could be a threat to Arsenal in the PL this season in contention for the top-four place finish. Or they could even have another miracle season to win the title again this season. Today in the PL, they walopp Newcastle 5-0 at the King Power Stadium and as a result of this they are now occupying the 3rd spot in the table. Which Arsenal can’t surpass tomorrow even if they beat Man Utd. Save, if they walopp them 0-8 to revenge the 8-2 heavy defeat they were suffered at their hands at Old Trafford some seasons ago.

    But at any rate, Arsenal should be careful in the game away to Man Utd tomorrow to not play a wayward game in the match that will see them drop points in the match instead of them to collect all the maximum 3 points at stake in the match to occupy the 4th spot in the table. A point collected in the match by Arsenal could see them placed 5th in the table behind West Ham. This will not be sad nor rejected but it won’t be a pleasant song sang to us Gooners by Arsenal.

    Therefore, beating Man Utd tomorrow by Arsenal has become a compulsory task for them to accomplish and derive the maximum benefit from the match so that they can remain strongly in contention in the League for the top spot. After all, if they get to 14 points tomorrow night by beating Man Utd as being envisaged by us Gooners. Only the hauliable 7 points will be in between Liverpool now at the top and Arsenal which Arsenal can haul as Liverpool drop points and Arsenal gain them. Therefore, Arsenal should not allow the points gap between them and Liverpool or Man City to widen. But always keep it close to be at their tails making the points gap between trio closable at any time by Arsenal as the season progresses.

  • Gord

    OT: Mesut Ozil

    Lots of stories that Mesut will go out on loan, probably with Arsenal paying part wages.

    If true, it says a lot about the manager. He cannot work with one of the most gifted players in the world. Who would take him for a top job after he leaves here?

    I hope that someone he and Mesut work something out, and he (Mesut) doesn’t have to leave.

  • goonersince72

    Gord,

    As you probably have guessed from my posts, I’m an admirer of Ozil’s skill and vision on the pitch. In my opinion, he thrives and really influences a match when he’s allowed to ghost around the pitch creating space. Of course, for this to work, the other players have to be aware as well. On teams where the Manager allows him this freedom, and have the players to accommodate the style, his play will lead to success. I’m of course referring to the Germany national team and Real Madrid. In fact, with all the superstars in the German World Cup winning team it was Ozil named German Footballer of the Year 3 years running. His style and talents are not for everyone. He seems to play one way and doesn’t adjust. So, if you’re not going to utilise what he does, I suppose you must move him on. AFC have neither the talent nor discipline of those great sides. Where exactly would Ozil fit in Emery’s ever changing formations? I wonder where Santi Cazorla would fit, if at all. I’m just happy I’ve been able to enjoy those inch-perfect passes, seeming in slow motion, arrive on the boot of a teammate willing to take on and beat a defender. It’s a rare talent and it will be missed.

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