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It’s a knockout: McGregor firm loses out in EU brand battle saga


Conor McGregor has lost his legal battle to trademark his name. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Conor McGregor has lost his legal battle to trademark his name. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Conor McGregor has lost his legal battle to trademark his name. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mixed martial arts superstar Conor McGregor’s bid to cash in on his brand across the EU has suffered a knock out blow.

This follows the Boards of Appeal at the EU brand registry throwing out McGregor’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.

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

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

The Dutch company opposing the 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.

In the eight-page decision letter sent to the MMA fighter’s Dublin-based trademark and patent lawyers FR Kelly, the appeals board has told them they have the option of appealing their decision to the General Court of the EU based in Luxembourg and an appeal must be lodged within two months.

It is understood that only a small percentage of cases are appealed to the General Court.

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

In its ruling, the appeals board found 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 Conor McGregor’s firm to reimburse the Dutch’s company’s application fees, totalling €1,170.

However, those will be a fraction of the legal and professional costs.

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

The Dutch company’s lawyers argued that “due to this visual, aural and conceptual similarity that the common distinctive element ‘McGREGOR’ causes, a likelihood of confusion exists”.

Last June, McGregor announced his retirement from mixed martial arts but will add to his coffers when he returns to the Octagon next month where he is due to fight Dustin Poirier.

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