Forget Players, LIV Golf Might Not Even Get to Keep Its Trademarks
In another episode of the golf tour's seeming slow death, a famous Miami nightclub has taken legal action against it
If LIV Golf is experiencing death by a thousand cuts, as it seems to be, a famous Miami nightclub may have just delivered a machete-sized gash. Owners of the club, LIV Miami, described as a “South Florida institution” by Draft Kings Nation, filed an appeal with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to block the embattled tour from continuing its trademark use.
“The nightclub @LIVmiami was founded by hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman and has been ranked as one of the top nightclubs in the world,” tweeted Josh Gerben, a media-friendly trademark attorney. “In court filings, @LIVmiami claims that LIV Golf’s trademarks should not be registered because the trademarks are: ‘visually similar’, ‘phonetically and aurally similar’ [and] ‘share similar goods/services.’”
The court filing by the nightclub owners also says that LIV Miami’s trademarks are licensed around the world and have been in use for a decade and a half. The golf tour’s trademarks are problematic for LIV Miami, per Gerben, because both are based on the Roman Numeral “LIV,” which stands for “54.” The golf tour adopted that name as a reference to the number of holes played in its tournaments, while the Miami establishment’s name is a callback to the historic New York City nightclub Studio 54.
LIV Golf’s TV Ratings on The CW Are Latest Embarrassment for Saudi-Backed Series
The network's broadcast of "World's Funniest Animals" drew more viewers
LIV Miami owners said in the appeal that they are concerned with an affiliation to the tour, believing customers might think the club is a sponsor. The filing goes on to say that LIV Golf’s “use and/or attempted registration” of the trademarks is “likely to cause and has caused dilution of the distinctive quality” of the LIV Miami trademarks.
Why the club owners filed this appeal now, with LIV Golf embarking on its second season, and what precise outcome they are hopeful for is unclear. InsideHook reached out to the plaintiff’s legal representation and they declined to comment, though Gerben tweeted he believes “a nightclub and a golf league would be able to find a way to co-exist.”
It’s a wonder if LIV Golf will, ahem, live long enough to see an end to this legal entanglement. Its TV ratings are poor, its golfers’ world-rank positions are plummeting and the PGA is fighting like hell to demolish it — so much that its best players, like Rory McIlroy, say they’re sacrificing performance quality to lead the charge.
And this does not appear to be a willy-nilly kind of move from the nightclub.
“LIV Miami didn’t object to Super Bowl LIV being in Miami in 2019, because they knew the event was good for the city,” Draft Kings Nation pointed out. “There’s actually an offshoot of the nightclub LIV in the Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium, and you couldn’t buy that kind of cross-promotion. They embraced the NFL’s happy-coincidence name fully, so it’s not like the owners of LIV are lawsuit-happy weirdos. But the trademark by LIV Golf is just a bridge too far.”
The road length on which the Saudi Arabian investors will travel to continue its sportswashing initiative with LIV Golf remains to be seen. But $2 billion buys them a lot of blacktop, one would imagine.
In the meantime, LIV Miami seems to be thriving, at least to some degree. The club recently hosted a party where Flo Rida and Trick Daddy performed. Reportedly, they “had the crowd going wild.” So as a Twitter user named “Chuck Daddy” — who may or may not be related to Trick — said, LIV Golf and LIV Miami are, in fact, different.
After all, he pointed out: “LIV Miami has people at it.”
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.
Suggested for you