Navy Blue rebrands Spurs as trade mark law takes effect

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is planning to relaunch its identity in August 2006 and has appointed Navy Blue for the redesign.

Though the iconic cockerel and ball elements of the existing marque are likely to remain and will receive a stylistic overhaul, the logo will become ‘quite different’, according to Navy Blue senior designer Richie Hartness.

Hartness says the projects come after advice from the Football Association Premiership administration that club marques need to be significantly updated in order to ensure the designs are registered and adequately protected against unofficial use.

The advice from the FA follows a landmark European Court case involving Arsenal – a rival North London club – which revealed that many clubs do not have adequate ownership of their identity.

Simon Clark, head of intellectual property at solicitor Berwin Leighton Paisner, says one reason for clubs redesigning their logos is to take advantage of new European legislation.

‘Football clubs can now take advantage of the new Community Design law to protect their logos. For a valid Community Design, the logo must not be more than 12 months old, which may lead to clubs re-designing their logos,’ Clark says.

‘A club which has protected their logo in this way would not need to show that the public was confused into thinking that unofficial merchandise was official merchandise, which has caused problems in the past for clubs relying on trade mark laws. Use of any logo which gives the same impression as the registered logo would be an infringement,’ he adds.

Spurs also launched a new typeface last month, designed by Dalton Maag. The typeface will be applied across club merchandise, marketing material and signage at the ground and will also be incorporated into the Navy Blue-designed identity. The typeface needed to retain a traditional feel and an element of masculinity, according to Dalton Maag managing director Bruno Maag.

Football merchandise and the law

• Unofficial merchandise is not illegal, but cannot be passed off as original

• Arsenal launched a redesigned identity by 20/20 in 2002, following its European Court case to try and curb unofficial merchandise sales

• Football clubs that have not registered the design of a badge have found themselves unable to do so when their use of it has lapsed

• Clubs are now redesigning their badges in order to register the designs, often using new Community Design legislation from the EU

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