• Law

Formula One has no rights to F1 abbreviation

ESPNF1 Staff
February 17, 2011 « Ecclestone stung by warts-and-all biography | »

Europe's second-highest court has ruled the Formula One does not have exclusive rights to the sport's "F1" abbreviation.

The General Court was ruling on an appeal by Formula One Licensing (FOL), the commercial rights arm of the Formula One Group, against a 2007 decision.

"Formula One Licensing cannot prevent the registration of a [European] Community trade mark containing the words 'F1 LIVE'," the court said. "There is no likelihood of confusion between the mark applied for and Formula One Licensing's marks, given the low degree of similarity between the marks and the descriptive character that the public attributes to the abbreviation 'F1'."

The trademark dispute started in April 2004 when the Racing-Live website, which was subsequently bought by ESPN, sought to register a mark with the words "F1 Live". The trademark agency initially ruled in favour of FOL but on appeal reversed its position, arguing the public recognised Formula One as a type of sport rather than a brand name.

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