The news that the new whiskey-brand EU trademark application of former Ultimate Fighting Champion, Conor McGregor, called “PROPER NO. TWELVE” has been published by the EU Trademarks Office following the withdrawal of his original brand name NOTORIOUS, is a reminder to all brand owners of the importance of carrying out trade mark searches before using or applying to register a new brand name.

McGregor’s company filed an EU trade mark application for NOTORIOUS in July last year, intending it to be his new whiskey brand. However, following a trade mark dispute with Carlow Brewing Company, which already had a registration of the trade mark NOTORIOUS for the same classes of alcohol products as those sought by McGregor, the fighting champion was forced to abandon the name. Not only did the EU trademarks office refuse his EU application but it ordered him to pay some legal costs to Carlow Brewing Company.

As a result, McGregor has had to drop the name NOTORIOUS and file a fresh EU trademark application for “PROPER NO. TWELVE” in Class 33, covering whiskey, alcoholic beverages and spirits. Unless this application is opposed before the end of September 2018, his new brand name should mature to registration in the EU. However, this is after spending probably thousands of pounds in legal fees for a failed new brand name.

The take home lesson here is always to carry out at least some trade mark searches before you adopt for use or apply to register a new brand name. Failing to do so could mean not only that your trade mark application may be refused but you may end up having to drop the name altogether and lose all the money invested in that failed brand. It’s important to remember too that trade marks are territorial so if you trade beyond the UK, you need to search internationally as well.

Here at the Trademark Hub, we have a wealth of experience in helping the full spectrum of brand owners – from sole traders and SMEs through to multinationals – to search, protect, and enforce their brands and designs both in the UK, in Europe, and around the world. We will be delighted to work with you to ensure your brand doesn’t get “knocked out”.