Our team: Michelle Waknine
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex submitted a trade mark application with the World Intellectual Property Office last year to register “SUSSEX ROYAL” in the UK, EU, Australia, Canada and the US. The application covers a range of goods and services in six classes, including printed publications; clothing; promotional and public awareness campaigns; volunteer projects for charitable purposes; education and training relating to nature, conservation and the environment; organising youth training schemes; counselling and emotional support services.
An application was also submitted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for registration of the mark: “SUSSEX ROYAL THE FOUNDATION OF THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF SUSSEX”, reportedly the name of their new foundation, in the same classes and territories.
As the application is still pending, a third party – reportedly an individual based in Italy – has jumped on the bandwagon and recently submitted an application with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), to also register the “SUSSEX ROYAL” mark in the EU. The application, submitted on 9 January 2020, covers 6 classes and the specification notably extends to toiletries, jewellery, luggage, toys and – wait for it – beer.
If the EUIPO does not raise any objections and allows to mark to proceed to publication, it is likely that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will submit a formal opposition with the EUIPO during the three month “opposition period”, in which anyone can raise objections to registration of the mark.
However, this might all become irrelevant since the recent revelation that the royal couple intend to “step back” from their position as senior members of the royal family, particularly if the Queen does not allow them to continue to officially use the word “royal” in their title. A smart move by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at this stage, would be to register a number of marks that might be used in connection with Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new ventures – that is before more opportunists swoop in and beat them to it.