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Gold Standard trade mark practice for the Platinum Jubilee


Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in British history on 9 September 2015, surpassing the previous record (of 63 years, seven months and two days) set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. For some years now, the Queen has been the longest-living reigning monarch in the world. She passed a new milestone on 6 February 2022, which marked 70 years of her reign. Celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee are being held this week over a special four-day UK bank holiday weekend, from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June 2022. 

Various IP resources have been made freely available by the Royal family to assist charities and communities wanting to mark the Jubilee. These include special photographs of the Queen, as well as English- and Welsh-language versions of the Platinum Jubilee emblem (downloadable here: The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Emblem | The Royal Family):

Official retailers such as the Royal Collection have brought out authorised memorabilia, ranging from coffee mugs to carriage clocks. This appears to be flying off the shelves – due to “unprecedented demand”, the Royal Collection has temporarily had to suspend all orders from their Platinum Jubilee collection.   

The Jubilee is expected to generate an additional GBP 1 billion revenue for the UK. Unsurprisingly, many traders who do not enjoy Royal patronage also want to cash in on this bonanza. It’s important for such traders to know what they are and are not allowed to do.

Use of the Royal Arms and other Royal Devices for commercial purposes is usually prohibited unless the permission of the member of the Royal Family concerned has been obtained. However, in line with previous practice on similar occasions, these rules have been temporarily relaxed to allow commercial use of approved Royal photographs and Official Insignia on souvenirs marking the Platinum Jubilee – but only as long as the souvenirs are (a) in good taste, (b) free from any form of advertisement and (c) carry no implication of Royal custom or approval. What constitutes “good taste” may well be open to debate! Detailed guidance on the temporary rules regarding Jubilee souvenirs can be found here: SOUVENIRS (, while the Lord Chamberlain’s Office provides summaries of the usual legal position regarding commercial use of the Royal Arms etc. here: Use of Royal Arms, Names and Images | The Royal Family

Traders also need to be sure that any “Jubilee ads” are not in breach of advertising codes of conduct. In addition to the normal rules, the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) has issued special guidance on how advertisers can “make it a compliant Jubilee” (here: Make it a compliant Jubilee with these platinum-plated advertising tips – ASA | CAP ).  

For anyone tempted to register a Jubilee-related trade mark, the usual rules will apply. Section 4 (1) of the Trade Marks Act 1994 provides that:

A trade mark which consists of or contains—

(a) the Royal arms, or any of the principal armorial bearings of the Royal arms, or any insignia or device so nearly resembling the Royal arms or any such armorial bearing as to be likely to be mistaken for them or it,

(b) a representation of the Royal crown or any of the Royal flags,

(c) a representation of Her Majesty or any member of the Royal family, or any colourable imitation thereof, or

(d) words, letters or devices likely to lead persons to think that the applicant either has or recently has had Royal patronage or authorisation,

shall not be registered unless it appears to the registrar that consent has been given by or on behalf of Her Majesty or, as the case may be, the relevant member of the Royal family.”

So applications for “ROYAL JUBILEE” and the like will be refused unless appropriate official approval can be shown. No such restrictions apply to “PLATINUM”, but it is an increasingly crowded field – the UK IPO database currently lists over 600 live applications and registrations for “PLATINUM” marks.

If you have any questions about use or registration of a trade mark – whether Jubilee-related or not – don’t hesitate to get in touch.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

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