A government department says it will take action against all TT trademark infringements – whether on or off-island.
The Department for Enterprise was last week criticised after a Ramsey store was ordered to remove its TT-themed clothing from sale.
Trading standards officers, acting on a tip-off, called in to Looneys to advise that the T-shirts bearing the legend ’If you want me to listen…talk about the TT’ were an unauthorised use of a trademark.
Looneys subsequently put the T-shirts back on sale after taking their own legal advice – but then took them down for a second time.
Now it has emerged that unlicensed TT merchandise is being offered for sale on-line by a Miami-based outfit.
Rob Callister, political member at the DfE with responsibility for motorsport, said: ’The department takes all trademark infringements seriously, whether they occur on or off the island.
’Where possible companies and individuals are contacted directly and informed that they are in breach of the department’s intellectual property rights, they are then if required, issued with a “cease and desist” letter requesting them to refrain from selling or producing the items.
’If they continue, there are further measures the department can take to prevent trademark use. In the majority of cases there is no need to take any further action.’
He added: ’With reference to Miami, the department has already instructed our legal advisors to issue a take down notification which involves contacting Facebook to get the products removed.
’Facebook then process the take down request in accordance with their dispute resolution policy.
’We would expect the Miami products to be removed from sale via the Facebook platform early next week.’
The letters TT and the TT logo are registered trademarks.
Income from licensing and sponsorship for the TT totalled £2.99m last year, with about a third of that protected by exclusive agreements.
Mr Callister said that income, which is ploughed directly back into the TT and reduces the burden on the taxpayer, would be put at risk if the department did not protect its brand.
He said the DfE has an exclusive partnership with a company that pays a six-figure sum to produce TT T-shirts.
John Peet, head of OFT, explained that the unauthorised use of a trademark is an offence under the Trademark Act. He said the issue at Looneys had been dealt with in a proportionate way.
Manx charities are not charged for using the TT trademark. Guidance can be found at https://www.gov.im/media/1356855/20170518-tt-branding-use-guidance.pdf