Legal dispute over use of Mayo GAA crest is settled

Complaint from Mayo GAA to Savanagh Securities Ltd about trademarked crest being used on clothing

A High Court dispute over the use of the Mayo GAA county crest on a clothing company’s products has been settled.

The dispute arose in 2015 when Mayo GAA complained to Savanagh Securities Ltd, which trades as T-Rex Clothing in Castlebar, Co Mayo, about the trademarked county crest being used on T-Rex clothing, including tee-shirts.

The GAA told Savanagh it was in breach of trademark because the logo had been registered with the Controller of Patents and Trademarks in 2006.

The GAA’s lawyers wrote to the company complaining the official GAA logo was being used on T-shirts on sale in all 32 counties.

Savanagh responded that it had the permission of the Mayo Ladies Gaelic Football Association to use the crest but confirmed that it had ceased all advertising and production of all alleged infringing items.

However, a further complaint from the GAA followed. Savanagh’s lawyers then suggested the registered name of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael (GAA) which, as an unincorporated association, was legally incapable of holding property and specifically trademarks. It should be in the name of certain officers of the county board of the GAA at the time of registration, it was argued.

Savanagh argued the GAA could therefore never have had legal standing to bring any trademark infringement proceedings and the claims were groundless. The GAA was liable for damages to Savanagh for losses it is said to have sustained, it was claimed.

Savanagh then sought a declaration of invalidity of the trademark from the Controller of Patents who rejected the application. However, the controller said the administrative mistake, in relation to the name on the register, could be rectified by a formal application for registration in the names of the trustees/officers.

Savanagh lodged an appeal against that decision with the High Court. In the meantime, the GAA made an application to the court to have the register rectified by replacing GAA with the names of Tomás Ó Riain and Seosamh O’Baoill.

When the case came for mention before Mr Justice Senan Allen, he was told the action by Savanagh against the controller had been settled. The issue of rectification of the name of the register will be dealt with next month.