Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Flap over Liverpool's bird symbol

LFC badge and Liver Bird on the Liver Building
The council is taking legal advice over the trademark application

The owners of Liverpool Football Club have applied to register the Liver Bird as their trademark, prompting the city council to take legal advice.

The club has applied to the UK Intellectual Property Office to register the image for 450.

Bosses hope it will stem the tide of counterfeit Liverpool merchandise bearing the famous Liver Bird emblem.

But Liverpool City Council said the club had "no right" to claim the bird as its own.

Deputy council leader Flo Clucas said the council was taking legal advice over the trademark application.

"I have some very real concerns over it," she said.

It belongs to the city and nobody has a right to claim it exclusively as the own
Flo Clucas
Liverpool City Council

"They do already have their crest trademarked, but they have no right of ownership to claim the bird, or any version of the bird, as their own.

"The Liver Bird, not only does it appear on the Royal Charter for the council, but it is also used by local businesses and schools.

"It belongs to the city and nobody has a right to claim it exclusively as the own. It's a symbol for the city."

She has also raised concerns that if the club was successful in registering the image, it could start charging for its use in future.

"The club also says they have no intention of charging organisations that want to use it.

Mythical bird

"But there is no guarantee in future that the people of the city will have the right to use that without having to pay for it."

A statement from the club said: "Liverpool Football Club is seeking to trademark only its own specific version of the Liver Bird, to combat its use in counterfeit merchandise.

"This does not extend to other versions of the Liver Bird, such as the city council's or those used by other commercial or charity organisations.

"We have absolutely no intention of challenging that usage of the Liver Bird.

"We are simply trying to stop people lifting our rendition of the Liver Bird out of the official club crest and applying it to fake Liverpool FC merchandise."

The Liver Bird is a mythical bird, similar to a cormorant, which as legend has it could often be seen flying alongside the River Mersey with seaweed in its beak.

Two statues of the birds stand atop one of the city's most famous buildings, the Liver Building.

The bird is also used on logos by several businesses, including the Liverpool Echo, which shows the bird carrying a newspaper in its beak.

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