Shops in the UK selling vuvuzelas could face serious financial consequences because of question marks over the name.

According to Richard Plaistowe, an intellectual property lawyer at Mills & Reeve, a South African company called Masincedane Sport has registered “vuvuzela” as a Community trademark, which covers the whole European Union.

Vuvuzelas have become the symbol of the 2010 World Cup, with their drone heard all over the UK when the football matches are on.

Plaistowe told The Telegraph: “If anyone imports into the UK, or sells within the UK, any horn branded as vuvuzela that was not originally placed on the market in the EU by Masincedane or with the company’s consent, this would amount to an infringement.”

Sainsbury’s has got round the difficulties by calling its vuvuzela horns “vuvuhorns”. Asda said it never sold them. But other UK retailers have also sold the horns.