After nine years, Lionel Messi has won a trade mark battle allowing him to register his surname, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled.
The footballer originally applied to register the trade mark ‘Messi’ as a sportswear brand in 2011, but was hindered following appeals from Spanish Cycling company, Massi, arguing that the names were too similar and would likely cause confusion.
Massi was originally successful in challenging the registration of the trade mark as the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled in favour of the cycling and sportswear company in 2013. However, when Messi responded with an appeal to the European Union’s General Court in 2018, they ruled in his favour, stating that the reputation of the football player was too well established for any confusion to likely arise.
In September of this year, the ECJ upheld this ruling, granting Messi the rights to trade mark his name. Ultimately, it appears the EUIPO had failed to adequately consider the fame of the footballer.
By Ellie King, student from Southampton Solent University