ZLATAN, ROONEY and EURO 2012 – Protected as Trademarks

In Insights, Uncategorized

20 June, 2012

EURO 2012 is indeed on-going and now it is time for the exiting quarter-finals. Huge investments have been made for the tournament and companies are using various branding strategies to become connected to EURO 2012. However, in these times it is more important than ever to discuss with your marketing departments how you are going to market your company and/or your products.

First of all, it is important to note that many names relating to EURO 2012 and football players are registered trademark rights. Naturally enough, football players are significant brands for their national teams, their club teams and above all for themselves in the football industry, which is why it is not very surprising that many of them have registered their own names as trademarks.

For instance, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, playing for the Swedish national team, has registered the Community Trademark registrations ZLATAN and ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC for a wide range of goods and services such as: perfumes, hair care products, razors and shavers, computer programs, vehicles, watches, clothing, beer and entertainment. Another example is Karim Benzema, who is playing for the French national team who also has registered his name Karim Benzema as a Community Trademark.

Furthermore, Wayne Rooney has a number of Community Trademark registrations including ROONEY, WAYNE ROONEY and ROONEY STREET STRIKER (figurative). Wayne Rooney has taken the protection of his brand a step further and also registered the autograph of Wayne Rooney himself as a figurative mark.

It can be noted that UEFA has taken a wide approach in protecting the brands surrounding EURO 2012. The trademark EURO 2012 is registered for more or less all kinds of goods and services. EURO 2012 may possibly seem to be a generic term, but it is a registered Community Trademark.

Even though all players and brands connected to EURO 2012 are not registered as trademarks, it does not mean that they cannot claim some kind of protection. For instance, some of them could be protected as unregistered trademark rights, so called “established rights” if they are sufficiently famous. Furthermore, the Swedish Marketing Practices Act protects for instance the reputation of famous brands, names, products or business, as well as misleading advertisements, which could be applicable in case a company is using certain famous brands, without the permission of the person behind the brand. In addition, the Swedish Act on the Use of Names and Pictures in Marketing (Lag (1978:800) om namn och bild i reklam) prohibits the use of the name or picture of a person in advertising (without their consent) in Sweden.

The risk of not respecting the above mentioned registered and unregistered rights are trademark infringement, infringement of the Marketing Practices Act and the Act on the Use of Names and Pictures in Marketing, which could end up in tough negotiations or even litigations, legal costs and “bad” publicity etc.

Hence, as always and indeed in relation to EURO 2012, it is crucial not to brand your companies together with already registered trademarks, famous players or other companies who can claim certain intellectual property protection or the like. The most famous “names” are generally already registered trademarks, or have the possibility of claiming some other kind of protection.

Let the games go on..

Helena Ribbefors, Attorney at Law
Martin Tranälv, Attorney at Law

You may also be interested in:

Sweden’s Proposed Patents Act

On 11 April 2024, the Swedish Council on Legislation was presented with a new Swedish Patents Act proposal. The

City landscape with trademarks visible

CNIPA’s Regulations on Collective and Certification Trademarks: keypoints highlighted

The regulations contain 28 provisions across several critical topics Registrants of collective and certification marks must implement several acts


Balancing Innovation and Regulation: Comparing China’s AI Regulations with the EU AI Act

The recent passing of the EU AI Act presents an opportunity to conduct a comparative law analysis against China’s


Mobile Sliding Menu