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LIV vs. LIV: Miami Nightclub Drags Golf League into Trademark Battle

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
They have similar names and they both serve the masses — but for two decidedly different reasons. Learn more about the LIV Miami nightclub’s trademark dispute with Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

The LIV Miami nightclub has a bone to pick with LIV Golf. The popular beachside party venue at the iconic Fontainebleau Hotel recently filed a court action to oppose the Saudi-funded league’s attempt to register a series of trademarks regarding its chosen name.

You may file this under “things I didn’t expect to see today,” but such is the predicament of plenty of upstart business trying to secure various logos and marks that make up their identities.

Poetically enough, LIV Golf counts the Trump National Doral Miami in the nearby city of Doral as one of its competition venues.

Per trademark attorney Josh Gerben of Gerben Intellectual Property, LIV nightclub owner David Grutman filed the Notice of Opposition. Since opening its doors in 2008 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel, the spot is beloved by Miami residents and celebrities alike. Because it can also hosts live performances, its become a popular spot for musicians to take the stage in front of thousands of fans.

In the document, Grutman claims LIV Golf’s trademarks are “confusingly similar” to those of the Miami venue. The businessman argues the marks are “visually, phonetically, and aurally similar and the goods/services share similarities,” consequently, the public may mistakenly believe the golf competition is connected with or endorsed by LIV nightclub.

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GolfWeek and others have noted that both brands decided on “LIV” based on the Roman numerals representing 54 — LIV Golf events are 54 holes rather than the typical 72, with 54 additionally being considered a type of hypothetical perfect score (100% birdies) on a par-72 course. Meanwhile, the LIV Miami nightclub site was first established in 1954 and has been at times referred to as “Miami’s Studio 54,” a nod to the defunct but legendary Manhattan venue.

Founed in 2021, LIV Golf is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, with two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman serving as CEO. Due to the nature of its backing and its aggressive recruitment of PGA Tour players, the league has found itself entrenched in controversy in the court of public opinion as well as various courts of law.

At press time, the US Patent and Trademark Office website lists the case as still “pending.” Stay tuned for more legal fireworks.

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today, and most recently Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University, and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.