Lionel Messi celebrates after an eventual name trade mark win EU General Court
Footballer Lionel Messi has previously not been on winning form when it comes to his name trade mark bid.
His bid started in 2011, where he sought to register a word application for ‘Messi’ and a corresponding logo in respect of sporting equipment and clothing in the EU.
This bid was opposed by Jaime Coma who claimed the application has a likelihood of confusion with his existing mark ‘Massi’ trade mark which is protected in respect of clothing, shoe, bicycle helmets and protective clothing. In 2012, the mark was transferred to a Spanish company.
This opposition was upheld by the EU Intellectual Property Office.
When Messi appealed this decision, the appeal was dismissed by the EU Intellectual Property Office in 2014 after concluding there was a likelihood of confusion, due to the marks being almost identical both visually and phonetically.
The matter was appealed once again to the EU General Court.
The score then turned in Messi’s favour as the EU General Court annulled the EU Intellectual Property’s decision stating that Messi’s fame is enough for his reputation to spread to the general public as a whole not just to those interested in football or sport.
Therefore, taking this into account and the fact that the goods for which the mark was applied for is sporting equipment, there is not a high enough level of similarity for the public to have confusion over the origin of the goods.
Messi is now free to continue to register his application.
If you would like more information on trade marks in the EU, please contact the Trademarkroom team today.
By Ellis Sweetenham