An Aussie tradition has become the commercial property of Formula One’s owners after a cheeky application to trademark the move was granted.
The ‘shoey’ – a celebration where a person pours an alcoholic drink into a shoe and then drinks it – has been gathering momentum in Australian circles since the mid-2000s.
It rose to prominence after MotoGP rider and Queenslander Jack Miller and then F1 driver and Perth lad Daniel Ricciardo started performing the celebration after race victories.
Ricciardo has even coaxed the likes of Mark Webber and Patrick Stewart to do a ‘shoey’, taking the celebration to the world.
But news has emerged in English paper The Independent that Formula One lodged an application for a trademark with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) last year.
“F1’s branding department Formula One Licensing was granted a trademark registration to the word ‘Shoey’ on 24 August 2017,” the report read.
“It has been registered in 25 countries including the United States, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom where it came into force on 4 January this year.
“The registration is only for one category but it’s a crucial one as it covers flasks, glasses, bottles, mugs, sculptures and figurines.”
Formula One were not able to register the trademark for clothing purposes, though.
The ‘shoey’ trademark, in a clothing sense, had already been registered by Australian woman Korinne Harrington.
So, what does this all mean?
Mark Williams, an expert in trade marks and copyright from Melbourne’s RMIT University, said Formula One’s acquisition could be used in two very different ways.
“You would expect it to be for merchandise but it could also be used defensively in trying to keep someone out of the market,” Dr Williams told The New Daily.
“Whether it’s to stop Ricciardo going into it … he is a contestant beginning to mark it [shoey] as his own or whether it’s for themselves, it’s hard to say.
“They don’t have to telegraph their plans ahead of time.”
Regardless of the revelation, the future of Ricciardo’s celebration is unknown, given he put a ban on himself doing it last year.
The 28-year-old admitted at the time that he had “dug a hole” for himself in relation to the ‘shoey’, after fans at promotional events were urging him to do it.
However, he did break that ban after winning a race in China last month.