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Last Updated: Friday, 7 October 2005, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Fergie 'too famous' for bill ban
Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson had wanted exclusive rights on posters
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson failed to ban posters bearing his name because he is "too famous," his lawyer said on Friday.

The football manager applied for exclusive rights to the use of his own name on a wide range of goods.

But the Trade Marks Registry rejected part of the application for stickers and posters carrying his image.

His lawyer Alan Fiddes said he would appeal against the decision under the Human Rights Act.

"Our argument is that Sir Alex Ferguson and other famous people are being discriminated against because they are famous," he said.

If we win, Sir Alex would be able to sue someone for trademark infringement if they printed a poster with his name on it
Alan Fiddes, Sir Alex Ferguson's solicitor

"A non-famous person would be able to trademark their image, but because Sir Alex is already famous he cannot."

Some footballers have successfully trademarked themselves in this area by applying before they became famous such as Joe Cole who did this before he was a West Ham first teamer.

"He clearly had very good advice," Mr Fiddes added.

Non-celebrities find it much easier to prevent the use of their images on posters.

Mr Fiddes said famous people were treated differently because the regulators thought the public would not see the image being featured as an indication of endorsement.

"If we win, Sir Alex would be able to sue someone for trademark infringement if they printed a poster with his name on it," said Mr Fiddes.

"It's another weapon in his armoury for him to stop people exploiting his brand image."

Trademark infringement

Sir Alex, of Wilmslow, Cheshire, had hoped to get exclusive rights to sell posters and photographs of himself.

But trademark judge Charles Hamilton ruled the manager's name was "devoid of any distinctive character".

Sir Alex is also waiting to hear the outcome of a second bid to benefit from using his name on goods such as jewellery, DVDs, computer games and toy dolls.

If there are no objections, it will go through on 26 November.

Sir Alex name trademark bid fails
06 Oct 05 |  Manchester

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