Rangers Football Club have been engaged in a dispute with a rugby fan, Mr Russell Campbell, over the football club's application to register a trade mark for "RFC" and "R.F.C" in a variety of trade mark classes. Mr Campbell decided to oppose this trade mark application on the basis that RFC is known as an acronym for "Rugby Football Club".
In order to overcome this objection to their trade mark, Rangers altered their application by narrowing the scope of the goods the mark was intended to be used for, limiting that range to goods "relating to or for the promotion of football (soccer)". The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) initially permitted the application to proceed with this alteration but Mr Campbell appealed against that decision. The IPO then found that insufficient weight was given to RFC as an acronym for 'Rugby Football Club" and determined that the limitation of the range of goods to which the application related was not sufficient to rule out the possibility of goods risking associating with the Rugby Football Club acronym.
This case serves as a reminder of, depending on particular circumstances, the importance of defining clearly and in detail the classes of goods in respect of which a trade mark is applied for.
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