Universities across the city-region have raised legal objections over plans for the University of Bolton to change its name to the University of Greater Manchester.

The University of Bolton has said it will "defend its position at law".

Last autumn, the university – which has its roots in the Bolton Mechanics Institute established in 1824 – announced plans to rebrand to the University of Greater Manchester. The plans were subsequently derided by many local politicians.

Now, it has been revealed that Greater Manchester universities – including the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the University of Salford, have also objected to the proposed name change.

A report by The Guardian newspaper described the situation as a "bitter legal dispute", with the newspaper reporting that it had seen a letter from the University’s vice-chancellor to the Office for Students describing the universities as a "cartel".

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A University of Bolton spokesperson said: “The University notes the remarkable similarities between the responses of the two separate Manchester universities.

“The observations made in relation to trademarks are not consistent with the facts as the University of Bolton understands them.

“In particular, the University of Bolton would draw attention to the fact that since it made its application to the OfS, both MMU and UoM have challenged its trademarks. These had previously been approved by the trademark authorities unchallenged.

“The University of Bolton is surprised that MMU and UoM submitted trademark applications similar to ones already held by the University of Bolton since we applied to change our name.

“The University of Bolton expects that interested parties will draw their own conclusions in this respect.

“It is noteworthy that the University of Bolton offered to defer all matters until after the OfS, as regulator, makes its decision on the name change.

“However, the other universities which have made the decisions to become involved, seem to wish to persist with legal instructions and costs.

“Given the requirements for best value use of funds, the University of Bolton finds this action extraordinary. The University of Bolton will however defend its position at law.

“More recently, the University of Manchester has applied for two trademarks ‘Manchester Business School’ and ‘Alliance Manchester Business School’ in order to strengthen its opposition to those trademarks already registered and applied for by the University of Bolton.

“Again, individuals will draw their own conclusions.

“The University of Bolton can confirm that its existing trademarks are now the basis of dispute by both MMU and UoM, which have chosen to use the same law firm.”

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A University of Manchester spokesperson said: “We responded to the formal OfS consultation regarding the proposed name change and registered our concerns, and have also responded to a series of connected trademark applications. We believe the proposed name change will be very misleading and confusing.”

A Manchester Metropolitan University spokesperson said: “We have submitted our views on the proposed name change to the OfS as part of its consultation process. We have raised objections to those trademark applications submitted by the University of Bolton where we feel they impinge on our own registered trademarks.”

A spokesperson for the University of Salford added: “We submitted our views on the proposed name change to the OfS as part of the consultation process and have responded to a number of trademark applications and registrations made by the University of Bolton.”

If you have a story, I cover the whole borough of Bolton. Please get in touch at jack.fifield@newsquest.co.uk.