And the degree of awareness of someone who wants to register his or her name as a trademark is one of the relevant factors in assessing whether there may be confusion with another trademark, the European Court of Justice has ruled.
The highest court of the EU thus confirms a 2018 judgment of the General Court of the European Union. He also ruled that Messi’s reputation provides enough distinction between his brand and Massi, which makes bicycles and associated accessories.
Trademark law office was wrong
The Court dismisses the arguments put forward by the Massi company and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in the appeal. EUIPO is involved in the case because the agency found Massi’s complaint to be well-founded.
The judges in Luxembourg, where the Court is located, disagree. According to them, in 2011, when Messi wanted to register his name with EUIPO, it was already clear how famous the footballer is worldwide. The fact that EUIPO did not take this into account and that Massi was right for that, the Court considers the organization very heavy.
Webshop has been active for a long time
The decision in the appeal puts an end to years of dispute, no appeal is possible.
The footballer has not awaited the verdict of the legal wrangling, his webshop has been online since November 1, 2019, according to web.archive.org. This site keeps track of how long a site has been active and regularly stores versions of the site.
It is not the first time that European judges have ruled in favor of star football players. Last May, Brazilian Neymar, Messi’s longtime buddy at Barça, also won a lawsuit over the use of his own name.