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Club score victory in street trader challenge

Posted on 24 January 2003  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

The club has fought off a three-year challenge from a street trader who claimed that the football brand TOTTENHAM was not the sole property of the club, principally on the grounds that it denotes an area of London as well as the football club.

The court hearing the dispute, the Trade Marks Registry, dismissed the trader’s appeal against an earlier dismissal of his attempt to block Tottenham Hotspur from getting legal protection for the brand TOTTENHAM.

Disputes between football clubs and market traders, particularly directly outside grounds, are becoming high profile as football clubs move to keep control of commercial brand rights and quality of merchandise. Arsenal FC has also been involved in a long-running dispute with a street trader over his right to sell unauthorised fan merchandise outside their ground. An English court’s decision in December unexpectedly overturned Arsenal’s victory in the European courts.

Lewis Cohen, Intellectual Property solicitor at KLegal, the law firm associated with KPMG, and acting for Tottenham Hotspur in this matter, said: "There are many other clubs whose names are associated with areas and they are sure to take an interest in this decision.

Indeed, other companies outside football may also do the same. What’s in a name? — This ruling has pushed the boundaries back."

A spokesperson from Tottenham Hotspur commented: "We are glad the matter has been resolved and hope that it may serve to protect our fans from unauthorised and, in some cases, poorer quality goods sold outside the ground."