Abigail Sinden
Associate Solicitor
Make an enquiry
Date Published:12 Mar 2020 Last Updated:12 Apr 2021

Royals bow down to the IPO

Business Services

Following the announcement that Harry and Megan were to step down as senior royals, they applied to trade mark the brand “Sussex Royal” to enable them to continue using the brand going forward.

The Sussex Royal brand is already used for the couple’s Instagram account and on the couple’s website and social media accounts for their charitable organisation, Sussex Royal Foundation.

However, Harry and Megan have now withdrawn their trade mark application. There is speculation that this may have derived from the fact that their trade mark application would require consent from the Queen given their application included the term “Royal”.

Under Sections 3 and 4 of the Trademark Act 1994, trade mark applications including the term “Royal” may be refused by the Intellectual Property Office if the specification would lead people to believe that the applicant has, or recently has had, Royal patronage or authorisation i.e. an association with the Queen or the Royal Family.

The term “Royal” is unlikely to indicate Royal patronage or authorisation for everyday items however; high value products or services may indicate an association.

Once an objection has been made, it can only be overcome if the applicant obtains the consent of the Queen, or the member of the Royal Family concerned. Such consent must include specific agreement as to the use and registration of the term “Royal” as a trade mark. It appears that the Queen has vetoed and/or opposed Harry and Megan’s application.

Businesses should seek legal advice if their application includes a royal mark, royal arms or similar emblem, representations of the Royal Crown or Royal Flags, representations of the Royal Family and names of the Royal Family. You may also need permission to use certain words, phrases or images as part of your application if they include or contain similar elements.

If you would like any advice on how you can trade mark your brand, please contact Abigail Sinden on 01202 525333.