Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s attempt to trademark their Sussex Royal brand is 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.
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 use of the trademark.
This would add a significant delay to the Sussexes’s hopes to use the brand name, 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 use 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.
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.
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.