Imagine if Augusta National Golf Club tried to trademark the name of the town, Augusta, or if the Yankees tried to trademark New York.
That is what the St. Andrews Links Trust is attempting to do with its request before the European Union. The Trust seeks to trademark the name St. Andrews for certain projects and services. According to reporting in Fife Today, the application covers 11 types of goods and services related to golf, including books and magazines that use the name.
A spokesman for the Links Trust told Fife Today, “The Links Trust courses are the oldest and most renowned in the world and often referred to simply as St Andrews. The Trustees view it as their duty to reduce the danger of misrepresentation and to nurture what the name symbolizes around the world.”
What the name symbolizing around the world could be subject to wide interpretation. St. Andrew was, after all, an Apostle of Christ and brother of St. Peter. The town got its name when Roman Christians reportedly came ashore at the Firth of Fife with boxes housing the finger bones of first-century disciple. There is no word from the church on the Links Trust’s trademark application.
Of more pressing and immediate concern is how the application will affect local businesses, many of whom use the name St. Andrews because that's where they are located.
This isn’t the first time such trademarks have been debated. In the wake of Dale Earnhardt’s death, his widow looked into trademarking the number 3. That attempt didn’t go far as no one could figure out how to license an integer.
The spokesman for the Links Trust said, “St Andrews Links Trust believes it is not appropriate for (outside) parties to use the renown of St Andrews for their financial gain by wrongfully suggesting they have a relationship with St Andrews Links.”
No date has been set yet for review of the trademark application.