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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 17:54 GMT
Met Office hit in baseball battle
New York Mets
The Met Office hopes to quash New York Mets' application on appeal
Weather specialist the Met Office has suffered a setback in its battle to stop a US baseball team using its name on merchandise in the UK.

The New York Mets has applied to register its logo, containing the word "Met", as a trademark in Europe for commercial purposes.

But the Ministry of Defence, which owns the Met Office trademark, says the word is too close to its brand.

A patents office registrar ruled in favour of the New York Mets on Tuesday but the MoD is likely to appeal.

A Met Office spokesman said it objected to the baseball team's application because it wanted to protect its brand.

He said the US team had also applied to use 'Mets' as a trademark but that the Met Office had "no problem" with that.

He said: "There's enough confusion as it is in this country with using 'Met' for the Metropolitan Police.

"The New York Mets applied to use 'Met' as a trademark and not just for sporting purposes but as a blanket application."

The spokesman said this "impinged" on the Met Office's business interests.

'Image protection'

But the MoD said it was in discussion with lawyers to see if there was a case for appeal and was "still hopeful of a positive outcome".

"We are trying to protect the Met Office trademark in the same way as Barclays Bank or HSBC would protect their image", the MoD spokesman said.

"We just do not want to go and have people trade off our reputation."

But specialist trademark solicitor David Wiebe Sefton said he found Tuesday's decision "unsurprising".

He told BBC News Online: "The question is whether use of the word 'Met' is likely to result in confusion, on the part of the public, that the New York Mets are connected with the Met Office. The patents office registrar probably thought it highly unlikely.

"The registrar may have also questioned why the Met Office had not sought to register the word 'Met' as a trademark itself before."


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