A UK political party based in Oxford may ask the city’s council to oppose Oxford University’s bid to register the word ‘Oxford’ as a trademark amid concern from residents.
Green Party councillors could bring a motion to a council meeting tonight, January 28, asking colleagues to oppose the registration of the word, according to the Bicester Advertiser newspaper.
In October 2018, Oxford University Press, a university department, applied to trademark the word ‘Oxford’ for use on merchandise such as DVDs, pencils and stickers, as well as Bibles, in the UK.
The application was submitted as a “precautionary technical step” in response to “ongoing uncertainty around Brexit”.
“We have filed an additional trademark application in the UK for the same products and services where we use the word Oxford,” according to a statement last year.
Oxford University Press has had ‘Oxford’ registered as a trademark for some products and services in the UK since 1994 and across Europe since 2000.
It owns four other trademarks, including for the university’s coat of arms, which includes the Latin phrase ‘Dominus Illuminatio Mea’ (‘The Lord is my light’). This is the motto of the university.
Green Party councillor, Dick Wolff, said he will advise the council that “its own activities, and those of its trading companies, could be impacted should the application be successful,” the Bicester Advertiser reported.
According to the paper, Wolff will tell the council that residents and businesses are concerned the registration could “negatively impact the freedom of other organisations to use the word and associated brand in their own products and services without risking challenge or incurring a fee”.
The university has said it will only pursue an infringement claim if it “believes its rights are being infringed”.
Oxford University Press’s bid has been unpopular with residents, the Bicester Advertiser said. It cited its own poll, which recorded that 83% of readers were opposed to the application.
The city council meeting will be held at Oxford Town Hall tonight from 5pm GMT.