Conor McGregor’s trade mark battles
This ‘notorious’ Irishman is the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion and former UFC Featherweight Champion. His most recent battles are in the trade marks arena where he is currently seeking to secure trade mark protection for his name and his nickname – “The Notorious”.
In early July 2016, McGregor (through his company McGregor Sports and Entertainment Limited) made an application to the Irish Patent Office to register “CONOR MCGREGOR” and “THE NOTORIOUS” as trade marks in Ireland. Those applications are pending.
Later that month, a third party made an application to the UK Intellectual Property Office to register “CONOR THE NOTORIOUS McGREGOR”, “CONOR McGREGOR THE NOTORIOUS” and “THE NOTORIOUS CONOR McGREGOR” as a series trade marks in the UK. That application has been refused.
A few days after the UK application, the same third party made an application to the EU Intellectual Property Office to register “CONOR McGREGOR THE NOTORIOUS” as a trade mark in the EU. That application has been opposed by McGregor on the basis of that he has earlier rights in his name and his nickname.
Most recently, in January 2017, McGregor made his own application to the EU Intellectual Property Office and to the US Patents and Trademarks Office to register “CONOR MCGREGOR” and “THE NOTORIOUS” as trade marks in the EU and the US. Those applications are also pending.
It remains to be seen what issues will arise as McGregor pursues his own trade mark protection in the EU and the US, and as he opposes a competing EU trade mark at the same time. However, a key point to take away from McGregor’s ongoing trade mark saga is that trade marks are invaluable when it comes to capturing the commercial value in names and nicknames and it is always best to register as early as possible.
The fact that McGregor has started filing trade mark applications in key jurisdictions now demonstrates that he has recognised the value in his name and his nickname (as identifiers of a global brand) and that he is starting to think about licensing deals (and maybe retirement?).
Briffa advises on all aspects of trade mark law and practice, including trade mark applications, licensing and infringement matters. If you would like to discuss trade marks or any other intellectual property matters, please do get in touch!