Formula One case throws up questions on best practices for IP licensing

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According to Azrights, the Marussia Formula One team have recently been accused of infringing their licensor’s trademark when their licence had expired. Their licence for the trademark expired part way through a racing season and since the Formula One governing body declined their request to change their name, the team decided to continue racing and infringe the mark instead of forfeiting their chance of winning.

The High Court that passed judgement on the case stated that the team could not prove that they had used the mark with the licensor’s consent meaning that their case was not likely to be successful. Furthermore, the Marussia Formula One team were also advised that in order to advance to a trial that they would have to pay £1.75 million in security fees.

When licensing a trademark, a company should ensure that they are fully aware of the terms of the licence and that they can adhere to them for its entire duration. Furthermore, when applying for a licence, you should check that it is valid for the entire time that your company will need it, unlike the Marussia Formula One team, to avoid any infringement disputes.

A trademark licence may not be suitable for every type of business and every type of business owner. Therefore before making a decision on whether you should licence or buy a trademark you should consider what is most important to your business and choose the option to which it is best suited.

It would also be advisable to speak to a trademark attorney or specialist before entering into an agreement  as they would be able to either help you negotiate and draft an agreement or check a proposed agreement for its enforceability and fairness.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website,

Our unique database of trademarks for sale or license could save you time and help protect your brand.


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