Trade mark filings can often give clues to the intentions of those in charge of major sporting events. And this is exactly what we’ve seen with trade marks filed by Liberty Media, the US conglomerate which bought the Formula One Group in 2016 for US$4.4 billion (£3.3 billion).
The owning company is looking to expand Formula 1’s already lengthy calendar of races. They announced recently that they are considering scrapping the traditional Friday practices to include more races, and it looks certain that they are considering expanding to a 25-race season in the future.
This year’s F1 calendar
For 2018, the F1 season will include 21 races with Malaysia confirmed as returning to the circuit. While the remaining few slots haven’t been allocated, one has definitely been reserved for the United States. The others will be contested by countries around the world, including Vietnam, Argentina and Portugal.
Denmark is another country in the mix, having offered its capital city Copenhagen as a potential circuit. Following this announcement, Liberty Media responded by registering three variations on ‘Grand Prix of Denmark’ with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in November 2017.
It’s likely that Liberty Media is interested in Denmark as there is a relatively untapped market of motorsport fans in the country. Fans of F1 in Denmark centre their interested around father and son Danish drivers Jan and Kevin Magnussen.
Jan Magnussen raced for McLaren in the 1990s, and Kevin drives for Haas F1. The addition of Copenhagen onto the regular F1 schedule could potentially increase the fanbase in Denmark as they have a home-grown driver to cheer on.
Second trade mark filing
Another Grand Prix trade mark filing was reported by Kompas Advocatuur in January this year, and centres around the Netherlands. Liberty Media applied to the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property for a trade mark on 30 January 2018 for a Dutch Grand Prix.
The last time a Dutch Grand Prix was held was in 1985 at the Circuit Zandvoort and the site for a new addition would be between this historical site and TT Circuit Assen. The latter is used today by MotoGP among others.
According to Motorsport the Assen track was inspected earlier this year by the FIA (the governing body of motor sports) and was deemed almost up to the required standards. This means only minor alterations are needed before it could be used for a Grand Prix course.
In the same way as Denmark, motorsports in the Netherlands also have a father-son duo to get behind. Jos Verstappen raced for various F1 teams between 1994 and 2003, while Max drives for Red Bull Racing today. The latter has reached three Grand Prix wins and increased the love for F1 in the Netherlands.
What do the trade marks mean?
While it certainly looks as though both the Netherlands and Denmark are in the running to secure a Grand Prix place, the trade mark filings alone don’t necessarily mean this will happen. Three cities in the US – Las Vegas, Miami and New York City, also have Grand Prix associated trade marks, and there is very limited space left on the calendar.
This is a great example of just how interesting the world of trade marks, patents and Intellectual Property law is. IP affects so many aspects of our lives, and IP specialists in this sector of law often work on fascinating cases. If you’re looking to change roles within IP law, or want to start out in this sector, contact the Dawn Ellmore team here.
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