Thursday, 23 October 2008

We're being sued by New Zealand

Apparently Launceston Rugby Football Club (I do their press and photography on a voluntary basis) are being sued by New Zealand!

It all stems from the use of the words 'All Blacks'.

LRFC have been known as the Cornish All Blacks since they were formed in 1948.
In those days of austerity, finding complete matching sets of rugby kit was very difficult and expensive. The players of the newly formed club therefore sought to produce matching kit from whatever was available. Some players took other kits and dyed them to a uniform colour and black was the easiest to match. Others made kit out of blackout curtains. The nickname Cornish All Blacks was coined at that time and has been the nickname of the club ever since. I have yet to come across anyone who has mistaken the two teams but the New Zealand RFU are objecting to LRFC's move to trademark the 'Cornish All Blacks' name to stop people from counterfeiting our kit. They have threatened to sue us.

It's interesting to note that the New Zealand national team became known as the ‘New Zealand All Blacks’ during a tour to the UK and a match in Cornwall when a pressman mistakenly referred to the visitors as the ‘All Blacks’ rather than the intended ‘All Backs’ in reference to all their points being scored by their back division.

The Cornish All Blacks are a community based club in Cornwall who play in National Division 2. As part of our activities, we work in schools and community groups around the County to build the profile of rugby and to develop new talent. We are also keen to raise funding for our chosen charity – Cancer Research UK - and our away kit this season is all pink. We believe that our activities in this area may be threatened if we are no longer allowed to use the nickname Cornish All Blacks as many hundreds of replica kits which raise thousands of pounds for charity will have to be disposed of.

It's really disappointing that we have not had any direct contact on this matter from the New Zealand RFU and we believe that, should they get in contact with us, they will soon appreciate that we are no commercial threat to them whatsoever. In order to show our goodwill towards the New Zealand RFU, we would welcome the New Zealand national team down to Polson Bridge at any time for match.

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