THE operators of the famous Old Course have lost a legal battle over the rights to the name St Andrews.

St Andrews Links Trust owns the rights to the town’s name in relation to goods like golf equipment, jewellery, clothes and kitchen utensils, and planned to expand ownership to travel, accommodation and catering services.

The trust hoped doing so would protect their brand and prevent other global companies using the name.

But the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) said a town’s name cannot be trademarked for such services.

St Andrews Links Trust argued customers would think of their famous golf courses when they see the name – but the experts disagreed, saying the public could associate the goods with the town rather than golf.

The EUIPO said: "It is not excluded that the town St Andrews will be visited by persons who do not have the intention to play golf but want to explore the town, its landmarks and surroundings."

The trust lost a similar battle back in 2018 when the EU General Court refused the bid to register St Andrews as a trademark for conferences and books.

A spokesman for St Andrews Links Trust said: "St Andrews Links invests in protecting its brands and reputation globally forthose who share in our commitment to protecting the reputation and renown of St Andrews as The Home of Golf."