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Monday, 22 December 2008

Cricket, lovely cricket

You've got to feel a bit sorry for Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan-Antiguan patron of West Indian cricket. Last week's Daily Telegraph reported that Sir Allen is being sued by Stanford University for trade mark infringement. The university is concerned that Sir Allen's attempts at trade mark registration involve “intentional and bad faith conduct". The claim also seems to rely on likelihood of confusion. It seems that the university is conscious that Sir Allen wants to introduce cricket to the US and may affect the university's merchandising activities.

The IPKat isn't impressed. How can it be bad faith to use your own name? Moreover, he doubts that there is that much advantage for Sir Allen in associating cricket with a US university - our transatlantic cousins are gifted in many ways, but generally not in the relationship between willow and leather.


Emanuel Meyer said...

Depending on the circumstances, I suppose using your own name could be bad faith. In Germany Helmut Rothschild (no ties to THE Rothschild family) started a line of accessories under the 'Rothschild' name. This was so clearly an attempt to cash in on consumer confusion and to feeride that he was rightfully stopped from using 'Rothschild' - even though it was his name.

Cathy said...

Mmmm... As an American I'd have to say there is a decent likelihood of confusion. Stanford is indeed widely known for its sports programs, and also regarded as pompous enough* for the public to believe it might attempt cricket. (It already fields a rugby team, albeit not well...)

(There's also potential confusion with the term "Stanford Quad," which in the US describes the main focal point of the Stanford campus.)

While I generally hate to see someone sued for using their own name, the university may have a point that it looks like Sir Allen has been trying to capitalize on the university's identity. Whereas if he called his events "Sir Allen Stanford's Cricket" he could probably avoid the confusion altogether.

* I can say this. I went to rival UC Berkeley. Go Bears!

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