Legal Battle Brewing in St. Andrews

A few months ago, I told you about a handful of new golf course projects underway in Scotland (Trump's second course in Aberdeen; The Angus near Carnoustie; and an exclusive layout on the island of Jura).

Now there's another to add to the list, but its proposed name is hitting a bit too close to home for "the Home of Golf."

The new course, a Tom Weiskopf design on the outskirts of St. Andrews, will be named St. Andrews International Golf Links.

But that's not sitting too well with the St. Andrews Links Trust, overseer of the famous Old Course and its six siblings in town.

According to reports, the Links Trust lodged objections to the course trademarking the name and using it as a domain name.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation dismissed the domain name complaint, but the trademark fight is ongoing.

And it's not the only such legal battle in which the Links Trust is currently involved.

It also recently blocked the 130-year-old St. Andrews Golf Company (a local clubmaking shop) from trademarking its name with Scotland's Intellectual Property Office.

In an article by Edinburgh-based Deadline News, proprietor of St Andrews Golf Company, Ewen Glen, called the Links Trust's position, "outrageous."

"Money and power seems to have gone to its head and [it is] now resorting to bullying and threatening businesses that have been in St Andrews for generations. "[The trustees] are pretending to be the only legitimate custodians and seem to want to play God with the name of St Andrews." "We have been told by the trust they will take us all the way legally...and they have made it clear they will spend as much as it takes to knock our company out of this battle."

The article also quoted a spokesman for the Links Trust, who said:

"The trustees view it as their duty to reduce the danger of misrepresentation and to nurture what the name symbolises around the world. "A number of individuals and businesses, both in Scotland and beyond, were using our intellectual property without permission and, in order to protect our commercial interests, we began a programme of trademark and brand protection."

What do you think?

Should the Links Trust have total intellectual control over the words, "St. Andrews Links" or "St. Andrews Golf?"

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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Legal Battle Brewing in St. Andrews
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