US clothing firm makes six-figure donation to St Andrews charity to settle trademark row



US clothing company Streetwear Inc. has reached a resolution with the St Andrews Links Trust in the battle over the trademarking of the name of the town.

The company has agreed to pay a six-figure sum to charities in St Andrews and America after the brand was the subject of a suit filed in the United States by the Links Trust.

Streetwear was about to release a clothing range that claimed to be official ‘St Andrews’ merchandise. The consignment was worth around $3m and featured the St Andrews trademark.

The Trust makes between £3.5-£4 million a year in royalty profits from an exclusive agreement with Brooks Brothers of New York to sell clothing using the ‘St Andrews’ and ‘St Andrews Links Trust’ trademarks and filed the suit as Streetwear Inc. were not entitled to use the trademark.

The two sides agreed that the company could sell the collection provided any profits would be split 50-50 between US charities and the St Andrews Community trust and no further clothes were manufactured using the brands.

A statement from the Links Trust said: “After initial contact, St Andrews Links ascertained Streetwear Inc had produced and were actively marketing a clothing line bearing the St Andrews mark.

“Streetwear Inc believed they had a right to use the St Andrews mark because a third party purported to sell them that right.”

After discussions, Streetwear agreed to seek “a favourable solution that would not result in the matter proceeding through the United States’ court system.”

“St Andrews Links has now reached a satisfactory resolution, which requires Streetwear Inc to phase out all use of the trademark. The settlement also provides for a significant sum of money be donated to charities in St Andrews, Scotland and 
the USA.”

The debate over the trademarking of the name of St Andrews has been ongoing for a number of months. The Links Trust made an application to register the name ‘St Andrews’ as a trademark last November in an attempt to prevent what have been described as “companies which seek to exploit the good name of St Andrews but make no contribution of any kind to the town.”

A 130-year-old golf club manufacturer, the St Andrews Golf Company, was blocked from using a number of trademarks, a move which Ewen Glen, chief executive of the company, branded “absolutely outrageous.” Sir Menzies Campbell, local MP and trustee to the St Andrews Links Trust has defended its attempt to trademark the name of the town.

Tensions increased when a new golf course at Feddinch mains, St Andrews International Golf Club, won the right to use the name St Andrews as part of its web address. Ewan McKay, director of the new club, argued that the Trust has no right to claim ownership over the name.

The legal battle with Streetwear is the latest incident in the fight by the Trust to trademark the name.

St Andrews Links Trust chief executive Euan Loudon commented: “The links courses at St Andrews are the oldest and most renowned in the world. Their desirability has led to a number of individuals and businesses, both in Scotland and beyond, using our intellectual property and trading on local heritage, tradition and success without our permission.

“In order to protect our commercial interests we have a programme of trademark and brand protection. As part of that work we have a duty to track and enforce our intellectual property. We were alerted to a situation involving Streetwear and their marketing of a product bearing the St Andrews mark, which they were not permitted to use.”

“We would urge businesses trading on the name and reputation of St Andrews to be aware of the dangers of misrepresenting St Andrews and what it symbolises around the world,” added Mr Loudon.

“We have made significant investment to promote our commercial interests and, like all businesses holding intellectual property assets, have a duty to monitor the marketplace for infringing activity and to enforce our intellectual property as necessary.”


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