F1 loses another attempt to control abbreviation

By on Friday, February 18, 2011

Feb.18 (GMM) The Formula One Group has lost another attempt to exclusively control the "F1" abbreviation.

In 2007, the French website F1-Live and the sport's brand exploitation division Formula One Licensing fought over the right to use the "F1" abbreviation for logos and a range of services.

F1-Live, subsequently acquired and renamed by ESPN, was successful on the basis that "F1" is a generic term that cannot be owned.

This week, the case resurfaced in the form of Formula One Licensing's challenge of the European trademarks registry OHIM.

But Luxembourg's European General Court on Thursday agreed with the original finding that "the public" regards the F1 abbreviation as "descriptive".

"The General Court finds that OHIM was correct in making a distinction between the sign F1 as a word and the sign F1 as a logotype", the ruling document reads.

Formula One Licensing, ordered by the court to pay for court costs, can appeal the decision within two months.

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