Tottenham could face legal action over name if they move to Olympic site
Fri 14th Jan 2011 | Football Stadiums & Facilities
Tottenham Hotspur’s controversial plans to move to the Olympic Stadium will be challenged in the courts over the use of the name ‘Tottenham.’
David Lammy an MP who is bitterly opposed to the club’s bid to move to the Olympic Park, has vowed to start legal action to stop the club taking the name with them if they win the right to move east according to the Guardian.
It’s understood that the Tottenham MP has sought legal advice that would potentially stop the club from using Tottenham should they move to the stadium which is located in Stratford in the London Borough of Newham.
Speaking to the Guardian, Lammy, an intellectual property minister in the previous Labour administration, said: "Tottenham Hotspur was set up by a bunch of young people at All Hallows church in Tottenham 120 years ago. In the event that the current owners of Spurs take the club to Stratford, a new club will emerge. This is no different from the situation that emerged with MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon.
"Locally I will work with any new team, with the local authority, to ensure we retain the name Tottenham. They will have to take on a different name if they are to leave. I will protect the interests of Tottenham people in ensuring we don't have a club on the other side of London called Tottenham Hotspur that does not reflect at all the interests of the local community as it stands today."
Alexander Carter-Silk, head of intellectual property and technology at the law firm Speechly Bircham, said he had advised Lammy that there is an arguable case. "Anybody could apply to the trademark registry and say this is misleading or deceptive. It could be anyone with a reasonable interest in the mark being removed. The club could carry on using the name without a trademark. But then they would be extremely vulnerable to an action for passing off."
In his letter to Lammy, he said: "This is a complex area which is evolving rapidly. However in the short time we have had to consider this, it is our initial view that the Club's exclusive right to use the name "Tottenham" Hotspur would be open to legal challenge if the Club continued to use the Tottenham reference when it ceased to have any direct association with the locality."
Spurs, who plan to consolidate their message to fans over the benefits of moving to a bespoke ground on the site of the existing Olympic Stadium in time for the 2015-16 season, have become increasingly serious in their intent to move to Stratford.
The club claim that delays and added demands from Haringey council, Transport for London and English Heritage have led to the cost of building a new ground at the White Hart Lane site spiralling to £450m. They estimate that building a new ground on the Olympic Park would cost £250m, including the cost of refurbishing Crystal Palace to leave a 25,000-seat stadium as an athletics legacy.
Lammy will meet the Premier League tomorrow in an attempt to challenge its decision not to intervene in Spurs' plans to move to Stratford, claiming the league has not followed its own rules in considering the case. West Ham have also threatened the league with a judicial review if they lose out to Spurs, but the league is confident that the move would not breach its rules.
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