Marketing

Tommy Bowe tackled by German companies over trademark move



Former Irish rugby international Tommy Bowe has hit a stumbling block over the expansion of his footwear business.

The Co Monaghan businessman, a host on Virgin Media’s television show Ireland AM, has been tackled by two German clothing brands over his attempts to trademark the name of his shoe brand, Lloyd & Price, in Ireland.

The German companies say they have been using similar trademarks in Europe for many years and there is a “likelihood of confusion” if Bowe’s brand is granted an Irish or European trademark.

Belfast-based Bowe, who played for Ulster and Ospreys, has been selling shoes under the name Lloyd & Price for several years but only applied for a trademark last year. He also sells clothes under the XV Kings brand.

Two Germany companies – Lloyd Shoes of Sulingen, and belt provider Lloyd from Münsterland – have filed formal oppositions to the trademark application with the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

Lloyd Shoes said there is “a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public” with its shoes if Lloyd & Price receives a trademark in Ireland.

It said Bowe’s trademark would “take unfair advantage of” or be “detrimental to the distinctive character or reputation” of its trademark. The firm argues that Lloyd Shoes already has “goodwill” in Ireland and in the EU and that any “misrepresentation” of the brand could damage this.

Another company, Rudolf Böckenholt GmbH, is also opposing the trademark application. Founded in 1905, it sells belts and braces using the brand name Lloyd. It also claims there could be “a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public” if Bowe’s trademark is granted. It said granting permission to Bowe would “take unfair advantage of” its trademark which has been in use “for many years”.

Lloyd & Price did not respond to queries.

Bowe has rebranded himself as a businessman since retiring in 2018 from his rugby career, during which he won 69 Ireland caps and played in tests for the British and Irish Lions.

Accounts filed for Blue Bridge Ltd, a company Bowe owns, show profits of €361,018 in 2022 with cash reserves of €889,239. As well as the clothing business and media work, Bowe also owns several apartments in Belfast.

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