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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) it failed this Thursday that the Argentine footballer Lionel messi You can register items and clothing with the brand “MESSI”, thus annulling a resolution of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that saw a conflict with the brand “MASSI”.
With this ruling, which is final, the CJEU thus dismissed the appeals filed by the EUIPO and by the aforementioned Spanish company against a previous one of the General Court that authorized the soccer player in April 2018 to register the “MESSI” trademark for articles and sports apparel.
The Court of Justice considered that the General Court “took due account of the perception of the MASSI and MESSI marks by the entire relevant public when it found that EUIPO had erroneously concluded that the use of the MESSI brand for the products in question could give rise to a likelihood of confusion with the MASSI brands among the relevant public, “said the CJEU in a statement.
The origin of the dispute dates back to August 2011, when the forward of the FC Barcelona he applied to the EUIPO to register the trademark with his surname and an associated logo.
In November of that same year, Jaime Masferrer Coma, one of the leaders of the Casa Masferrer firm that produces bicycles, helmets and sportswear under the “MASSI” brand opposed the registration of the player’s surname before the EUIPO, considering that there was a “risk of confusion” between the two brands.
The EUIPO upheld this opposition in 2013 and Lionel Messi filed an appeal against the decision, which that Office rejected in April 2014, essentially considering that there was a risk of confusion.
The EU Intellectual Property Office then concluded that “the trademarks in question are similar because their key elements, made up of the terms ‘MASSI’ and ‘MESSI’, are practically identical in the graphic and phonetic levels ”, so that a possible conceptual difference would only be perceived by football fans.
The soccer player from Rosario then appealed to the General Court, which agreed with him in 2018, estimating that “the popularity of the soccer player neutralized the visual similarities and phonetics between the two signs and ruled out any risk of confusion “for being a” public figure “of” world fame “.
This argument was fully supported this Thursday by the CJEU which, in addition, stressed that the logos of the brands “MASSI” and “MESSI” are “conceptually different” reason why he rejected the two appeals of cassation brought against the sentence of the General Court, which gave the reason to the soccer player.