Image Credit: Cornelia Chen

University takes summer school to court

The University of Oxford is taking a company running summer schools to court over their use of the University’s name in connection with their activities.

In papers filed at the High Court of Justice in London, the University is seeking an injunction to force Oxford Programs, which runs Oxford Royale Academy, to remove the word Oxford from their business names.

Oxford Royale Academy is an elite summer school provider which regularly runs programs in Oxford, Cambridge, London, Yale, and Berkeley. Their two-week Oxford summer school costs £5,995 for students aged between 13 and 18. 

Courses on offer range from innovation and entrepreneurship to creative writing. They have welcomed guest speakers including William Hague, Richard Dawkins, and Andrew Motion in the years since they first began operating in 2004. They claim to have welcomed over 30,000 students from 170 nations to their programs.

The University is seeking a legal declaration that Oxford Programs and Oxford Royale Academy have infringed or threatened to infringe four of its trademark registrations, as well as an injunction banning them from infringing University trademarks any further.

They are also seeking a court order forcing the company to publish any court judgement won against them.

The two web domains that Oxford Royale Academy runs under are also under legal threat from the University, which is asking the High Court to force the transfer of the domains to them.

This is not the first time the University of Oxford has attempted to protect its trademarks. In 2020 they filed an opposition to a Japanese company, Oxford Corporation Co., registering the word Oxford as a trademark in Japan.

Their opposition was dismissed, with the Japan Patent Office stating that the word Oxford alone did not have a significant enough connection to the University to warrant the trademark cancellation. 

This High Court case, however, is much closer to home, given that Oxford Royale Academy operates its summer schools out of the University itself and many of its programs are taught by Oxford academics.

The University of Oxford did not wish to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Image Credit: Cornelia Chen