British doctor who lodged intent to block Harry and Meghan’s bid to trademark their Sussex Royal brand says an imposter filled out the forms
- Doctor Benjamin Worcester, 34, was named on notice of threatened opposition
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle hoping to trademark their Sussex Royal brand
- Move could see royal couple forced into a contracted legal battle for trademark
- Expert says Sussex Royal product empire could generate revenues of £1billion
The British doctor who lodged intent to block Harry and Meghan’s bid to trademark their Sussex Royal brand has claimed that an impostor filled out the forms.
Doctor Benjamin Worcester, 34, was named on the notice of threatened opposition that was filed on Tuesday against the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s bid to trademark their brand.
Dr Worcester has now claimed he had a ‘personal’ reason to lodge the objection against the proposals.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bid to trademark their Sussex Royal brand has been blocked following a complaint from an Australian doctor
According to The Sun Online, Dr Worcester refused to clarify details, stating: ‘My reasoning is personal and not for public consumption.’
But the IPO reportedly said in a statement: ‘The IPO has been advised by an individual that their personal details have been used without their permission to submit a ‘Notice of threatened opposition’ to the Sussex Royal trade mark.
‘While we are unable to discuss the specifics of trade mark applications, we are able to advise that we are in the process of rescinding this notice.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bid to trademark the Sussex Royal brand has been blocked following a complaint from an Australian doctor.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s hopes of turning the brand into a billion-pound empire have hit a roadblock after a notice of threatened opposition was filed on Tuesday.
The opposition was submitted by Benjamin Worcester, who lives in Victoria, Australia, but it thought to have worked as an NHS doctor from 2011 to 2014.
It is not known why the Melbourne-based doctor filed the notice, but the move could see Harry and Meghan forced into a contracted legal battle.
The couple first filed the trademark in June 2019, leading to a ‘opposition period’ where anyone can notify the UK Intellectual Property Office of a complaint.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new flashy website, sussexroyal.com, featuring their new branding
This period of opposition was due to end on February 20, but has now been extended to March 20 following the complaint from Dr Worcester.
Having first issued a notice of threatened opposition, the Australian could now issue a formal complaint detailing his objection to the registration of the trademark.
This would add a significant delay to the Sussexes’s hopes to register the brand name as a trademark, not to mention mounting legal costs.
According to the World Trade Review, Dr Worcester is a self-employer doctor in Melbourne who studied medicine at University College London.
The couple want to register the Sussex Royal brand on dozens of products including T-shirts, hoodies, journals and gloves in a bid to become financially independent.
They have an estimated £34million private fortune to fund their new life, but can make even more with various business ventures such as book deals, TV deals, public speaking and fashion and brand partnerships.
The opposition (shown on the UK Intellectual Property Office website) was submitted by Benjamin Worcester, who lives in Victoria, Australia
The royals submitted a number of trademark applications in June 2019 for products including T-shirts, social services and head gear
Documents published by the Intellectual Property Office disclose that among the items the royals have so far trademarked are instructional and teaching materials; printed educational materials; printed publications; educational books; textbooks; magazines and newsletters.
Also on the list are clothing; footwear; headgear; t-shirts; coats; jackets; anoraks; trousers; sweaters; jerseys; dresses; pyjamas; suits; sweat shirts; hooded tops; caps; hats; bandanas; headbands; socks; scarves and neckwear; gloves; sportswear.
The list also shows the royal pair have hopes to trademark the title on developing and coordinating volunteer projects for charitable purposes; providing volunteering opportunities and recruitment of volunteers and information, advisory and consultancy services.
Tribunal could decide if Harry and Meghan win trademark battle
Applications for trademarks in Britain
are made to the UK Intellectual Property Office.
After the application is made, a ‘period of opposition’ begins whereby any person can inform of their intentions to challenge the registration of the trademark.
This period usually lasts about seven months but can be extended.
Should a person want to signify their objection to the trademarking, they must first file a ‘notice of opposition’, which is free and can be done online.
This notice does not need to set out the reasoning for the objection, but it does include the person’s personal details.
That person is then given a month to lodge a formal notice of opposition, which costs £200 and sets out the reasons for objecting to the trademarks registration.
Should the Intellectual Property Office rule that the reasoning has grounds, proceedings will start to designate the trademark to either party. This begins with the sharing of several forms.
If the matter is not settled in this time, it will go before a tribunal, where a panel made up of Intellectual Property Office officials will adjudicate on the registration of the trademark.
The process from submitting a notice of objection to a final decision can take up to a year, with the loser in the case facing possible costs.
Retail experts have suggested that the couple’s Sussex Royal empire could generate revenues from £400million to £1billion.
Harry and Meghan vowed to become financially independent after announcing plans to step down as senior royals earlier this month.
Last night it was revealed the couple’s official wedding souvenirs no longer feature in the Royal Collection’s online shop.
The commemorative range – released ahead of their nuptials in 2018 – included a bone china coffee mug, a tankard and a plate.
Some pieces were still available to purchase as recently as a few days ago. A pillbox embossed with the initials H&M, pictured, was reduced from £35 to £10.
But now searches for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex bring up no results on the website. A spokesman said the chinaware items had sold out.
‘Many of Royal Collection Trust’s china ranges are produced to celebrate a specific occasion and are sold for a limited time,’ they said.
‘The china range to celebrate the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has sold out.’
However, the majority of items marking Princess Eugenie’s wedding, including a tea towel and a china tankard, have also sold out but still appear on the website.
China celebrating the Queen becoming the longest-reigning monarch in 2015 – three years before the Sussexes’ wedding – is also still available to buy.
The couple wed at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, with more than 11million Britons watching on TV.
The memorabilia would have needed Harry and Meghan’s approval. The items, along with souvenirs marking Eugenie’s wedding and the birth of Prince William’s son Louis, helped towards a record £21.7million in retail income for the Royal Collection Trust that year.
The decorative border on each piece was inspired by the wedding venue. It was based on the tree-shaped ironwork of the 13th-century Gilebertus Door at St George’s Chapel.
Harry and Meghan’s MEGA millions: Couple could earn a fortune with TV shows, books, brand deals, and more after quitting the royal family
If Prince Harry and Meghan choose to write memoirs about their lives, they will likely start a bidding war between publishing houses and procure eight-figure advances.
Fans would love to read about their vastly different childhoods and how their lives became entwined when they were brought together through a mutual friend.
Success: Michelle’s memoir, Becoming, has sold more than 10 million copies
Their love story is one for the ages, and while they have shared bits and pieces about their courtship, people are still clamoring for more information about the highs and lows of their romance.
In 2017, the Obamas scored a joint book deal at Penguin Random House worth a reported $65 million — an unprecedented amount for a presidential memoir.
While Barack’s upcoming book has yet to be released, Michelle’s autobiography, Becoming, sold 1.4 million copies in the first week and went on to become the best-selling book in the U.S. in 2018.
As of March 2019, it sold more than 10 million copies and was on track to become the best-selling memoir of all time.
Prior to Barack and Michelle’s record-breaking deal, Bill Clinton was given a hefty $15 million advance for his 2004 autobiography, My Life.
He has written four books since leaving the White House in 2001. Most recently, he published his first best-selling novel, The President is Missing, which he co-wrote with superstar author James Patterson.
Barack and Michelle Obama (pictured in Chicago last October) scored a reported $65million advance as part of their joint book deal, and it’s possible the royals can bring in even more
His wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has written numerous books as well. She earned a reported $8 million dollar advance for her 2003 memoir, Living History, and a believed $14 million for her 2014 follow-up, Hard Choices.
If Harry and Meghan aren’t willing to get personal, there are other options.
Hillary and her daughter Chelsea recently co-wrote and published The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience, which features portraits of female role models who inspire them.
Now that they’re parents, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may want to follow in Chelsea’s footsteps and write children’s books focusing on topics they’re passionate about.
Potential: It’s possible Harry and Meghan will start their own production company like the Obamas and start producing their own documentaries and podcasts
In the game: Harry has already teamed up with Oprah to create a multi-part documentary series about mental health that will air on the Apple TV platform this year
TV AND STREAMING DEALS
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are both activists in their own right, so it’s not hard to imagine them getting into film and television production to raise awareness for the causes that are important to them.
Harry has already teamed up with Oprah to create a multi-part documentary series about mental health that will air on the Apple TV platform this year.
Millions of viewers tuned in to watch them open up about the struggles they’ve faced as a couple in their emotional 2019 documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, a testament to their built-in fan base.
It’s possible they’ll take a cue from the Obamas and start their own production company to pitch their passion projects.
It was announced in 2018 that Barack and Michelle had signed a multi-year deal to produce movies, series, and documentaries for Netflix through their production company, Higher Ground.
It’s unclear how much the former president and first lady made off the deal, but those who have signed onto similar agreements are set to make millions.
Shonda Rhimes, who created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, signed a five-year deal with Netflix in 2017 that is estimated to be worth $150 million.
The following year, American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy reportedly scored up to $300 million when he inked his own five-year deal with the streaming giant.
Taking the mic: The Obamas and Clintons command six-figure fees for speaking engagements, and experts believe Meghan and Harry can easily do the same
At the podium: Meghan has a passion for using her voice to promote awareness for the causes near and dear to heart. She’s pictured at the launch of her charity clothing line in September
The U.S.’s former presidents and first ladies are taking home millions of dollars from their public appearances, so why can’t royals?
Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush have all made a pretty penny from their six-figure speaking fees over the years.
After leaving the White House, Barack started commanding a reported $400,000 per speaking engagement, while his wife, Michelle, has been said to make $200,000.
George W. takes in $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance, Politico reported in 2015, noting that he has done at least 200 paid speeches since he left office.
And according to CNN analysis, Bill and Hillary have earned more than $153 million in paid speeches from 2001 until the former secretary of state launched her 2016 presidential campaign.
Jeff Jacobson, co-founder of the Talent Bureau speaking agency, says the couple would get at least $100,000 per appearance, and Harry could get up $500,000.
He told Bloomberg: ‘I would imagine they are going to start having these conversations ASAP, if they haven’t already. I suspect they will both get on the circuit, and it will be one of Harry’s primary revenue streams.’
And it won’t just be one-off appearances that Meghan and Harry can earn money from; if, as experts predict, the two choose to follow the Obamas’ lead and sign a book deal, they could go on to rake in a fortune from a subsequent book tour – as former FLOTUS Michelle recently did.
When Michelle launched her book tour back in 2018, the costs of tickets shocked some fans, with prices ranging from $29.95 for general admission to $3,000 for a VIP package which included a front row seat, a photo with Mrs. Obama and a signed book.
Fashionable philanthropy: Last year, Meghan helped create a capsule collection to benefit Smart Works, a charity that provides clothes and coaching to unemployed women
Walking advertisement: Catbird, the jewelry brand behind Meghan’s favorite thin, stackable gold ring revealed 20,000 people have snapped up the band since she was seen wearing it
FASHION AND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS
When it comes to fashion, Meghan has the magic touch. Whatever the actress-turned-royal wears sells out almost immediately, making her any brand’s dream partner.
The Duchess of Sussex has many friends in the fashion industry, including tennis star Serena Williams and designer Misha Nonoo, who both have their own clothing lines.
Meghan’s close pal Jessica Mulroney also happens to be a famous stylist who has been credited with helping indie Canadian fashion brands get their start.
Jessica can easily help her connect with brands, though the royal likely doesn’t need the help.
Editorial: The Duchess of Sussex guest-edited the September issue of British Vogue in 2019
Last year, Meghan guest-edited British Vogue, and she is said to be close with the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful as well as American Vogue’s Anna Wintour.
The Duchess of Sussex combined her love of fashion and philanthropy in 2019 to launch a capsule clothing line to benefit Smart Works, a charity that provides clothes and coaching to unemployed women.
The collection was created in partnership with Misha, the clothing brand Jigsaw, and the department stores Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. For each item that was purchased, one was donated to the charity.
And if she so chooses, Meghan could also revive her lifestyle blog, The Tig, which she launched in 2014 and used to share her favorite things with her fans.
She abruptly shut down the site in April 2017, taking down all the posts she had shared over the previous three years. Meghan and Harry’s engagement was announced in November 2017.
However, Meghan recently filed documents in the U.S. aiming to keep the rights to the blog’s name until 2021.
A palace spokesperson made it clear that the lasting trademark is to ‘prevent false branding, but she could always have a change of heart.
Mystery project: Philanthropy is a large part of Harry and Meghan’s lives, and they revealed they will be launching a new ‘new charitable entity’
Going their own way: Though they likely won’t make money from their charitable endeavors, the new venture will certainly help them carve out their new identities
Philanthropy is a large part of Harry and Meghan’s lives, and in their statement announcing their decision to step down from senior royal duties, they said they will be launching a ‘new charitable entity.’
The couple didn’t share any additional details about the upcoming venture, but they may take inspiration from the Obamas, Bushes, and Clintons, who all have their own charitable foundations in the U.S.
Though they likely won’t make money from their charitable endeavors, the new venture will certainly help them carve out their new identities as they move away from the British monarchy.
Last year, Harry and Meghan walked away from the Royal Foundation, their formerly joint charity with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to start their own charitable organization called Sussex Royal.
It’s unclear what will happen with the foundation now that they are no longer going to be working as senior royals and they have yet to clarify their plans for the organization.
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