The European Court of justice on Thursday, dismissed an appeal from Spanish cycling company Massi and the EU’s intellectual property office, EUIPO and ruled on Messi’s favour.
The Barcelona Footballer first applied to trademark his surname as a sportswear brand in 2011. After nine long years, Barcelona ace Lionel Messi has finally been granted the permission to trademark his last name ‘Messi’. The footballer faced a major setback when he sought to launch to launch a brand by his own name after Massi, a Spanish brand that sells cycling outfits and equipment, filed an appeal suggesting the similarity in name and logo between the two brands will create lot of confusion among consumers.
The Spanish cycling company was successful with its initial appeal in 2013. But it lost out when Lionel Messi brought an appeal to the General Court, which ruled in his favour, and claimed that he is too well known as a sporting icon for any claimed confusion to arise. The European Court of Justice said that the star player’s reputation could be taken into account when weighing up whether the public would be able to tell the difference between the two brands. In doing so, it upheld the ruling of EU’s General Court of 2018, thereby confirming that the Barcelona star can finally be able to launch his own brand by the name ‘Messi’. Lionel Messi, the 33 year old who wears the number 10 shirt, has been crowned world football player of the year a record six times and is the world’s highest-paid soccer player’ according to Forbes. His total earnings for 2020 is $126m. In August, he made headlines by sending a fax to his club declaring his intention to leave. Barcelona responded by insisting that any team that took him on would have to honour him 700 million buyout in full. The 33 year old avoided being pulled into legal stand-off with the club and confirmed that he will stay at Camp Nou for the 2020-21 season, saying he did not want to face “the club I love” in court.