Conor McGregor firm loses out in four year EU brand battle

ireland
The 'brand war' has come to an end after four years.
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Gordon Deegan

Conor McGregor’s bid to cash in on his brand across the EU has suffered a knockout blow.

This follows the Boards of Appeal at the EU brand registry throwing out the Mixed Martial Arts star's appeal against a decision by the registry earlier this year to reject the name ‘Conor McGregor’ as a trademark for the sale of clothing across the EU.

Mr McGregor's bid to register his name was opposed by a Dutch based firm, McGregor IP B.V and the decision brings to an end an almost four year ‘brand war’ between the two companies at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The Dublin-based McGregor Sports and Entertainment Ltd first lodged the application for the EU wide brand bid on January 9th, 2017.

Brand war

The Dutch company opposing the brand bid sells clothing and accessories under the ‘McGREGOR’ brand and in an objection told the EUIPO that consumers might believe that goods sold by Conor McGregor’s firm are part of products marketed by its retail clothing company.

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In the eight-page decision letter sent to Mr McGregor’s Dublin-based trademark and patent lawyers, FR Kelly, the appeals board has told them that they have the option of appealing their decision to the General Court of the EU based in Luxembourg.

The boards of appeal dismissed the Conor McGregor appeal and agreed with the Dutch firm that the appeal lodged his company “is not well-founded”.

In its ruling, the appeals board found that there is a likelihood of confusion amongst the public across the EU between goods sold by McGregor IP BV and goods to be sold with the Conor McGregor brand.

FR Kelly had also requested the appeals board refer the case back to the Registry but the appeals board refused this request.

The appeals board has also ordered the Conor McGregor firm to reimburse the Dutch’s firm’s fees, totalling €1,170.

However, those fees will be just a fraction of the legal and professional fees incurred by McGregor Sports and Entertainment in the ‘brand war’ over the past four years.

EUIPO’s board of appeal rejected the argument put forward by FR Kelly that the respective trade-marks or brands would not lead consumers to believe that they are brand extensions.

Surname

FR Kelly stated that the surname in question would have to be extremely rare to support such a finding and grant such a wide monopoly.

However, in response, lawyers for the Dutch company, Leeway Advocaten argued that “due to this visual, aural and conceptual similarity that the common distinctive element 'McGREGOR' causes, a likelihood of confusion exists”.

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