25,000 sign petition backing Wembley FC in trademark row with the FA
- Credit: Paul Grover
More than 25,000 people have signed a petition to support Wembley football club which fears it could be bankrupted over a trademark battle with the Football Association (FA).
Wembley FC, based at Vale Farm, in Sudbury, has been told by the EU’s Intellectual Property Office that it must give up the trademark registered for its club logo after a complaint by Wembley Stadium that it affects its commercial interests.
The news has shocked the club’s chairman, Brian Gumm, who said: “The only way to deal with this is for Wembley Stadium and the FA to sit with me but they haven’t spoken to us at all.”
The trademark, with a lion’s head on a shield beneath the word “Wembley”, covers branding on more than 9,000 Wembley FC goods, such as clothes and alcoholic drinks.
It was obtained for the club in 2012 by Budweiser, the multinational drinks giant as part of a project at the time.
Wembley Stadium, which is owned by the FA, failed to object when the trademark was filed, and now claims it is blocked from selling some of its own Wembley-branded goods internationally. It has gone to the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
Wembley FC play in the ninth tier of English football at their Vale Farm home, which is two miles from Wembley Stadium.
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Mr Gumm said: “I want to thank the woman who started the petition. This is serious. If we lose the court case it could bankrupt us. Before this appeal the FA asked if I was looking for money for it so I said yes, if you are up for paying for it, we’re a small club we can do with every penny we can get. They then said they were a non profit organsisation, but I’m sure they can find a few pounds in their kitty to sort this out.
He added: “I didn’t set up the trademark. If Budweiser gave us something for our legacy, why shouldn’t we use that? I want to keep our name obviously, but at the same time if they want the rights I’ll give it to them but not as a give away. At the end of the day, all I want is the best for my football club.”
A statement on the FA’s twitter account, said it has never objected to Wembley FC’s use of the logo adding: “This case is about Wembley FC registering their logo in several countries outside of the UK, and then refusing to co-exist with us in those countries. The FA was therefore forced to find a way to prevent their mark blocking ours in those territories. We have not asked and will not ask Wembley FC to pay the costs to date.”
To sign the petition click here