RANGERS have reassured the club’s supporters that they are still in control of their iconic badge.
The Ibrox outfit announced on Thursday they were launching a probe into claims Mike Ashley now owned the club’s trademarks.
That came after it emerged documents appeared on the government-run Intellectual Property Office (IPO) website showing the club’s logos - including the ‘Ready’ badge and the designs for mascot Broxi Bear - were now controlled by SportsDirect.com Retail Ltd.
But the club’s board now says it has clarified the matter with the Ashley’s retail firm and confirmed it is still the rightful owner of the trademarks.
Ashley had been given security over the icons and logos as part of the £5million loan handed to the previous Gers board in January.
The Newcastle owner will hand back all rights once that cash has been repaid.
In a statement, the Rangers board said: “It will not become custom and practice for the board of Rangers International Football Club to respond to every outbreak of media speculation regarding this club but because of the sensitivity of the subject at the centre of recent reporting the directors felt a response is legitimate at this time.
“It has been widely reported that the trademarks, the iconic symbols of our club, are now in the possession of Sports Direct.
“Although the trademarks are registered in Sports Direct’s name, the position is not as alarming as it may first appear.
“Let us all be absolutely clear on this matter. Rangers remain the rightful and legal owners of their trademarks and interim chairman Paul Murray has clarified this position with Sports Direct. In fact, both parties will come together within the next two weeks for talks.
“Confusion over ownership arose last week when it was noticed on a Government Intellectual Property site that they appeared to be the possessions of Sports Direct but this was as a consequence of the loan facility entered into by the club’s previous board in January of this year.
“In return for the loan, Sports Direct took security over all Rangers assets - but not Ibrox - including intellectual property owned by the club.
“In England, it is possible to secure such rights by a fixed charge but in Scotland the equivalent of an English fixed charge (a standard security) can only be granted over heritable property - land and buildings.
“Intellectual Property is counted as moveable property for these purposes and Scots Law doesn’t allow fixed security to be granted over moveable property.
“Accordingly a practice has developed of lenders taking absolute transfers subject to a back letter setting out that the transfer is in security and the property will be returned when the facility has been repaid.
“This is a common device adopted by most of the UK banks and other main commercial lenders.
“Rangers supporters can be reassured that Sports Direct fully accept that all of the IP rights registered in their name will be returned to the club when the loan facility - the previous board drew down £5m - is repaid.”
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