LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One bosses failed to secure exclusive rights to the sport’s ‘F1’ abbreviation on Thursday after the Trademark Registry ruled against them.
Registry Official David Landau, relying on evidence from media coverage and online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, found that the public would recognise Formula One as a type of sport rather than a brand name.
“As Wikipedia comments, F1 is the highest class of single-seat, open-wheel formula auto racing. There is no hint in the Wikipedia references to indicate that F1 is seen as anything other than a particular form of motor racing,” he said.
Landau said the fact that the Formula One Group was the only organisation organising F1 races “does not mean that the public will perceive F1 as a trademark.
“It just means that currently it enjoys a monopoly on the races. However, if private owners of F1 cars race them on a friendly basis is that not an F1 race, if not on a commercial basis?”
He rejected the trademark application by the Group’s commercial rights arm, Formula One Licensing BV (FOL), and backed opposition to the move by motor racing news organisation Racing-Live SA.