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Jose scores own goal with trademark issue

31/05/2016

What's in a name? Well, quite a lot if you're Jose Mourinho as it's the reason the signing of his contract with Manchester United was held up.

It appears that the 53-year-old 'special one' allowed former club Chelsea to trademark his name leaving a question mark over image rights, and who can use his name and for what purpose.

Corporate lawyer David Preece, of FBC Manby Bowdler, said it was extremely unusual for an individual, particularly a famous sportsman or celebrity, to not own the rights to their name.

He said: “This is a rare issue but an interesting insight into how trade marks can be used to exploit a name or a brand people are familiar with.
“It's also a warning to companies to make sure they protect not just their brand, but all intellectual property and that they have covered the management of any related rights as well.”

Chelsea registered 'Jose Mourinho' and his signature as a European trademark in 2005. As well as owning the trademark, this means Chelsea can also use the name to brand and sell merchandise such as toiletries, technology, clothing and jewellery.

David said: “There are a number of options available to Manchester United, the most obvious being to ask Mourinho to buy the trademark back. Another option would be for United to purchase a licence from Chelsea, to that they can use his name on their own branded goods.

“The reality is that should United do this without a licence, Chelsea could effectively sue United. They would have a right to make a claim against United for infringement of its trademark and could potentially recover any profits made by United, or any damage caused to the brand by United's use.”

It is understood that Chelsea could demand a six-figure sum from United before any deal is concluded.

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