Pair may have to file objection after EU trademark application is apparently made from Italy
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex face having to potentially make an objection to protect their would-be brand “Sussex Royal” after an application was lodged with EU authorities to trademark a range of goods including beer and jewellery.
In what may be the latest attempt to either squat on or protect the couple’s brand, it was lodged on Thursday by an applicant who appears to be based in Italy and filed it in German, with English listed as a second language. Database searches suggest it was made in the name of Ui Phoenix Kerbl, possibly after the Guardian reported on Thursday that the Sussexes had yet to register their brand outside of the UK.
Six categories of goods and services were listed – covering areas including toiletries, sporting goods, toys and alcoholic beverages – in the application to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
An examination process by EUIPO officials will begin, which may involve them raising concerns, but if no objection is raised then the trademark will be published in 23 EU languages. There are also fees – €850 for one class of trademark and payable online – that will have to be paid.
From the date of publication onwards, third parties who believe that the trademark should not be registered have three months to object and must oppose the trademark by filling in a form and paying a fee of €320. One in five applications for EU trademarks are opposed by the owners of trademarks that are already on the market.
The development comes after applications to trademark the royal couple’s brand “Sussex Royal” for a range of goods and activities were lodged with UK intellectual property authorities last June by their advisers Natalie Campbell and Sara Latham. Ownership was switched to the couple in December.
Before the latest apparent attempt to squat on their brand, the couple were reminded of the risks they could face by a failed attempt in the UK last April to trademark hundreds of items from adhesive bras to energy drinks in the name of “Sussex Royal”.
The application, which came from Malta in the name of John Burnett, appears to have been an attempt to squat on the couple’s name but fell foul of the special protection that “Royal” has in UK intellectual property law.
Sally Britton, a partner at the law firm Mishcon de Reya and an expert on intellectual property law, said the EU trademark development illustrated the importance of brand protection for the Sussexes.
“They clearly have a successful brand. The question is whether the Queen will permit them to continue to use ‘royal’ and the crown in their logo or if they intend to attempt to continue use it internationally regardless of her wishes. There could be a rebrand for the Sussexes but they could also create a very interesting development regarding the future role of the monarchy and its funding.”