Messi Wins long battle over Trademark
Written By: Harshal Jain
Lionel Messi is not somebody who needs an introduction-at least to those who follow football. As his stature grew, so did his fanbase around the world. From the streets of Barcelona to the fields of war torn Afghanistan and the narrow towns of world, Nos 10 jersey is worn with pride and affection both.
Barcelona star footballer won a long legal battle of 7 years for registering his own name as trademark on 26th April 2018. Lionel Messi first tried to trademark his name in 2011 to sell the sports and gymnastic clothing, equipment and gears but was initially rebuffed.
A Spanish cycling clothing manufacturing company owing the name “MASSI” filed a notice of opposition to the original registration of Messi’s trademark in 2011, claiming it would lead to confusion with its already registered trademark.
Messi went to EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) to request the trademark but Jaime Coma, the owner of “MASSI” filed the opposition.
EUIPO ruled the decision in favor of Jaime Croma in 2011. It concluded that the use of trademark “MESSI” for sports, gymnastics clothing, protective equipment and instrument could create a likelihood of confusion with the trade mark “MASSI” on the part of customers.
EUIPO upheld its decision in 2013 and it also dismissed the appeal of Lionel Messi in 2014.
Messi than bought the appeal before the general court of European Union, the bloc’s second-highest court in 2014.
The general court of European union ruled the decision in the favour of Lionel Messi after 7 year long battle to register his name as a trademark.
General Court overturned the EUIPO original decision and said in a statement that “Messi is well known around the world that any similarities between the trademark would be unessential. The football player’s fame counteracts the visual and phonetics similarities between his trademark and trademark MASSI belonging to Spanish company”
The General Court held that “EUIPO was wrong to conclude that the use of trademark MESSI for sports and gymnastic clothing and equipment could create a likelihood of confusion with the trademark MASSI on the part of customers”
The EU judges said Messi should get the EU trademark for the logo, which consist of an emblem with an M, with the name Messi underneath. Argentine star, rode out a challenge by Spanish Company MASSI and registering his own name as trademark.
Lionel Messi won a legal battle allowing him to trademark his iconic surname and join the eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo and his brand CR7 in global marketplace.
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