News and Commentary

Denied! Lawyers, Corporations Trademark ‘Sussex Royal’ In The US And EU, Beating Harry And Meghan
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex react during their visit to Canada House in thanks for the warm Canadian hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada, in London on January 7, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo credit: LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

It may be more difficult to make money off the “Sussex Royal” name in the United States, the European Union, and in Australia than Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle probably thought. A new report, out Tuesday from the Daily Mail, claims that an American lawyer has snapped up the “Sussex Royal” trademark in the United States and a similar account from the Guardian says a company has already managed to grab “Sussex Royal” in the EU.

A motorcycle company appears to own the Australian trademark, and has already purchased the “Sussex Royal” domain.

The Sussexes had their assistants submit a claim for the “Sussex Royal” trademark on a variety of products and services over the summer and, after the couple announced that they’d be splitting from the British royal family late last week, reportedly transferred the trademark into their own names. That trademark applies only to the “Sussex Royal” brand in the United Kingdom, but it would allow Harry and Meghan to make money off “Sussex Royal”-branded items, especially now that it seems they’ll be cut off from their royal paycheck.

According to the Daily Mail, though, Harry and Meghan may have trouble getting the same protections in the United States. An intellectual property attorney from Los Angeles, California, managed to trademark “Sussex Royal” in the U.S. after doing a simple search and discovering the pair of soon-to-be-former royals had somehow neglected to register in what British tabloids claim will be their future home.

“Jared Fogelson, from Los Angeles, filed to own the brand on digital platforms on January 8 after finding – to his shock – that the name was still available,” according to the Mail. “A trademark application in the US in Fogelson’s name claims ownership to the Sussex Royal brand for ‘communications by computer terminals, transmission and delivery of video, and data via the internet and wireless networks.'”

Fogelson says he registered the trademark to teach the Sussexes a lesson about having a complete plan before taking a major leap.

The Guardian reports that an unknown entity, likely a corporation, filed for the “Sussex Royal” trademark in the European Union, also possibly upending Harry and Meghan’s plans to control the brand in Europe. The company “appears to be based in Italy,” and filed the trademark request in German.

Both Fogelson and the European trademark squatter will probably end up ceding their claims to Harry and Meghan, but not without a fight. The Sussexes have at least three months in the EU to file a counter-claim on the trademark, and assert that they own the rights to the name, “Sussex Royal.” In the United States, the pair can file a lawsuit to reclaim the trademark, but it probably won’t come cheap to litigate the “Sussex Royal” name back into the fold.

Harry and Meghan might face additional problems with the “Sussex Royal” brand, if the Queen has anything to say about it. Word has it that the Queen told Harry, during the royal family’s pow-wow Monday, that the “Sussex” brand would be carefully monitored, and its possible the logo, which features a crown, will have to be changed.

“They clearly have a successful brand. The question is whether the Queen will permit them to continue to use ‘royal’ and the crown in their logo or if they intend to attempt to continue use it internationally regardless of her wishes,” a British trademark attorney told The Guardian. “There could be a rebrand for the Sussexes but they could also create a very interesting development regarding the future role of the monarchy and its funding.”