BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi has won a legal battle over trademark rights relating to his own logo after the European Union’s top court on Thursday dismissed an appeal against the player from a Spanish cycling clothing brand.
The EU’s Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a statement it had authorised the player to register the trademark Messi, dismissing an appeal from the EU’s intellectual property office EUIPO and the Spanish company Massi.
Messi first filed an application with the property office in 2011 to trademark his surname as a sportswear, footwear and equipment brand despite opposition from the owners of Massi, who argued that the player’s brand would cause confusion to customers.
The EU property office upheld their complaint in 2013 and while an appeal from Messi the following year was dismissed, an appeal to the EU’s General Court in 2018 led to the original ruling being annulled.
The statement added that the Court of Justice had dismissed an appeal by the clothing brand and EUIPO against the annulment, saying the General Court was correct to say Messi’s reputation was a relevant factor in establishing a difference between the player’s brand and the cycling company.
Messi, 33, has been named the world footballer of the year a record six times and is the all-time top scorer for Barcelona, Argentina and in Spanish football.
He was named the wealthiest soccer player in the world by Forbes earlier this month, pocketing an estimated $92 million from his salary from Barca plus $34 million in endorsements.
The Argentinian made global headlines last month for declaring his intention to leave Barcelona, where he has spent his entire career, although he eventually decided to stay because he did not wish to face a legal battle with the club.
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Tomasz Janowski
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