Statement by Chris and Mary Payne, Directors of Radio London Ltd

BBC Radio London – October 2015

The BBC has changed the name of its local radio station in London from BBC London 94.9 to BBC Radio London.

Radio London Ltd is publishing this official statement which lays out the facts surrounding the change and our company's involvement.

The following consists entirely of publicly-available facts.

In October 1970, three years after the offshore station Radio London (aka Big L) closed down, the BBC launched its local radio station for London, calling it BBC Radio London. The name was subsequently changed to GLR (Greater London Radio) in October 1988.

The BBC applied for the trade mark "Radio London" in 1986 but, ironically, the trade mark was not approved and registered by the (then) Patent Office (now known as the Intellectual Property Office) until 1990, two years after the station name had been changed to GLR.

The BBC had not used "Radio London" as the name of a radio station since the start of GLR in 1988. Therefore, in January 2004, our company, Radio London Ltd, applied to revoke the "Radio London" trade mark on the grounds of non-use. This is a standard procedure within UK trade mark law. The Patent Office approved revocation of the mark in May 2004 and the BBC's two trade mark registrations were cancelled. This cleared the way for the registration of Radio London Ltd's own applications for "Radio London" which the company had made around the time of its launch in October 2002, with further applications in March 2003 and January 2004. We had applied to register these marks because we felt that protecting the Radio London name was the right thing to do for our company and for the memory of the original station.

When trade marks are finally registered after due process, ownership is deemed to have commenced from the date of application and so our company had been the rightful owner of the mark "Radio London" since 2002.

In February 2014, our company received legal notification that the BBC was challenging all our trade marks in the UK; the words "Radio London", the rl logo and the combined rl logo with the words "Radio London" across it. At the same time, the BBC had applied to register the trade mark "BBC Radio London", so clearly this new registration was likely to conflict with our existing ones.

After our suffering an extremely stressful year, a Hearing between both parties was held at the IPO (Intellectual Property Office) in February 2015. At the end of March 2015, the Hearing Officer issued a decision on the case and held that for certain of the goods/services covered by our trade marks, Radio London Ltd had not clocked-up what was regarded as sufficient use. The IPO therefore revoked, or restricted our UK trade mark registrations.

We are bitterly disappointed to lose some of our trade marks, particularly within the area of actual broadcasting services of which, in our opinion, we have been a part of for many years, but apparently not to the satisfaction of the IPO.

To be clear, "Radio London" remains as a trade mark registered to Radio London Ltd in the UK in certain classes that afford us protection of the name in the areas of broadcast engineering and suchlike.

David Robey, Managing Editor of BBC London 94.9, has stated publicly that it had always been his ambition to return the name of the BBC local station for the capital, to BBC Radio London.

We only wish he had spoken to us first and explained his ambition for the name change, before the BBC launched a legal battle against our company.

Links: Radio Today; The Guardian