A Berkshire polo club that counts Prince Charles as a member has lost the latest chukka in a recent legal battle to launch its own range of accessories.
The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club (RCBPC) is one of Britain’s most elite sporting venues, frequented by Hollywood stars and rock ‘n’ roll legends including Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones, actress Stephanie Powers, and Jodie Kidd.
But attempts to build on its reputation with a range of polo-related goods have been foiled by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg after Hollywood fashion brand, the Beverly Hills Polo Club, complained shoppers could confuse the rival logos, which both feature a polo player sitting astride a galloping horse.
The Berkshire club had applied to register its polo player logo on four classes of items, including glasses, watches, jewellery and leather goods, including travel bags, whips, harnesses and saddles.
Unfortunately, the court ruled that, while it may use the logo on specialist goods such as whips, harnesses and saddles, using the logo on other items similar to those sold by the Beverly Hills Polo Club would be confusing for customers.
Not even a real polo club, the Beverly Hills Polo Club, which sells a range of polo-inspired fashion and home accessories, has built a brand that it claims “captures the excitement of the sport of polo along with the exclusivity of membership in a private club” without there actually being any such thing in existence.
Speaking to The Times, the company said: “Seventy per cent of the potential customers surveyed in the US feel that there really is a Beverly Hills Polo Club. They feel that somewhere in the estates of Beverly Hills, there are polo players riding around playing chukkas for fun.”
RCBPC has not been lucky when it comes to using a logo that, as a genuine – and genuinely elite – polo club, it should be the most entitled to use.
In 2006, it was blocked from using its logo on perfume and soap after another U.S fashion and homeware label, also famous for its logo featuring a polo player swinging a mallet, challenged the club.
A spokesperson for RCBPC shrugged off the latest defeat, however, commenting to Derby House Post: “RCBPC is a strong international brand with a large range of products and merchandise promoted and sold all around the world. We have temporarily lost a minor IP challenge related to certain trademarks that RCBPC don’t currently use in any case. The negligible impact of the current status of this ruling solely at EU level will have no effect on our thriving global brand.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a host of high profile events, it will take more than a Hollywood interloper to knock this polo champion off its horse.