Lionel Messi wins fight to register himself as a trademark
A European court has ruled that Lionel Messi, the Barcelona and Argentina striker widely considered to be one of the world's greatest ever players, can finally trademark his own name.
His original application to the European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) in 2011 was challenged by the Spanish cycling brand Massi, on the basis of their existing registration in connection with a range of cycling goods and accessories. Massi argued that the names were too similar and would cause confusion, a point of view shared by EUIPO who said that only some people would be aware that the two were different, arguing that the names were similar because their dominant elements “consisting of the terms ‘Massi’ and ‘Messi’ are almost identical visually and phonetically”.
But the EU's General Court in Luxembourg, the second highest court in Europe, disagreed and ruled that the footballer was too well known for any confusion to arise. In a statement released coincidentally on World IP day (26 April), it said “Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio. The football player's fame counteracts the visual and phonetic similarities with Massi”.
Messi’s application to trademark his name will there proceed to registration quicker than his ability to unlock the Espanyol defence* en route to goal.
*Author’s note: other football team’s defences are also available.
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Photo Copyright: Reuters