JULY 12, 2007

Formula One and F1

Back in August 2001 Formula One Licensing BV made an application to register the UK trade mark "F1" for a variety of goods and services in 10 classes. Opposition to this was raised in December 2005 by a French company called Racing-Live which claimed that "F1" is a recognised abbreviation for the sport of Formula 1 and, as such, cannot be trademarked. A hearing was held on June 6 at which both parties presented their evidence.

A decision was handed down by David Landau of the Trademark Registry on June 14 ruling that there was simply too much evidence that F1 is indeed a generic term. He cited the fact that there are other organisations other than the Formula One group that are organising F1 races. Landau concluded that "the evidence which has been furnished, by both sides, in no way suggests that the ordinary, original meaning of F1, as a type of motor car race and as a description of the cars that compete in it, has been displaced."

Landau added: "I do not see that the group currently has the exclusive rights to the commercial exploitation of F1 under the auspice of the FIA, alters that. He ruled that "the evidence, from both sides, shows that F1 is not registrable as a trade mark for the services of the application."

Formula One Licensing BV was ordered to pay costs to Racing-Live.