Private college faces objection in trade mark bid

AC Grayling Anthony Grayling is the master of the private college which will reapply to trademark its name

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The New College of the Humanities - a private college being set up in London - is facing official objections to its bid to trademark its name.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO), responsible for registering such names, says it has objected to the proposal.

The New College of the Humanities says it is planning to re-submit its name and is confident of a successful application.

New College, Oxford, succeeded in registering its name before Christmas.

The New College of the Humanities, based in Bloomsbury in London, submitted a proposal to trademark its title last May.

This would protect how the name could be used, and prevent other organisations from using it for other purposes.

'Objection'

But the IPO, which examines and then either registers or refuses such names, has not approved the trademark proposal.

It has not been formally refused, but has been examined by the IPO, which says that the college's application faces an "objection to registration" - with that objection coming from the IPO itself.

In response, the college says that it will "reapply to trademark its name in due course and we expect a reapplication to be successful", adding that it had "applied for its name to be trademarked before it launched and before it had been used".

The IPO has not given the grounds for its objection.

When the New College of the Humanities set out its plans to open, there were concerns voiced about its title by New College, Oxford.

In a bid to avoid any confusion, New College, Oxford applied to trademark its name, which would protect how such a name could be used.

The submission from New College, Oxford was sent to the IPO in July and was accepted and registered in December.

But the application from the New College of the Humanities, submitted before the Oxford college, remains unresolved.

The private college, set to begin teaching in the autumn, caused controversy when it announced plans to charge £18,000 per year for a degree course - twice as much as the limit for public universities.

At a time of tensions over tuition fees, the college's announcement about its ambitions prompted hostility from student leaders and some academics.

The college, which will have philosopher Anthony Grayling as its first master, has faced a previous question about titles.

There were challenges from government officials over its use of the term "university college", as it had not been granted such a status and does not have its own degree-awarding powers.

Students will get degrees as external students of the University of London.

The college's website is currently describing the institution as a "university college".

The college defends this use by saying that it is a "generic term describing a college that provides university-level education".

There are also plans to offer reduced fees for some applicants for the autumn intake, based on academic merit, with these "exhibition places" charging fees of £7,200 per year.

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