St Andrews Links Trust has made an application to the European Union to register ‘St Andrews’ as a trademark.
The charity, which manages the seven golf courses at St Andrews, including the world famous Old Course, counts local MP and former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell as a trustee.
He said he wants to stop companies using St Andrews branding on golf products, such as balls, clubs, bags, publications and hotel, bar and restaurant services, without the trust’s permission.
However, local businesses have expressed concern that a successful application could be detrimental for them.
“The intention of the trust is to protect the brand of St Andrews,” said Sir Menzies Campbell.
“What is not appreciated by some is there are many companies which seek to exploit the good name of St Andrews but make no contribution of any kind to the town.
“They are simply in business to feast off St Andrews. I am in no doubt whatsoever that if this application is granted, the trust will take full account of local interests.”
A spokesman for the trust added that local businesses will not be under any threat by the move, but this has not allayed concerns.
Ewan McKay, director of St Andrews International Golf Club, which recently won a legal battle with the trust over the use of two website addresses, said he will object to the trademark bid.
“Their arrogance in thinking that the renown of St Andrews is mainly due to the links trust is simply farcical,” he said.