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Manchester United Sue Makers of 'Football Manager' Over Alleged Trademark Infringement Due to Use of Club's Name

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Manchester United are suing the makers of Football Manager for allegedly infringing its trademark by using the club’s name “extensively throughout the game”.

The club also argues that Sega and Sports Interactive (SI) have infringed its trademark over its logo by not using the official Manchester United crest in the game, instead “replacing the club crest with a simplified red and white striped logo."

United believe that this depiction 'deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed.'

Sega and SI said they have been legitimately using United's name in a football context across all versions of Football Manager, and its predecessor, Championship Manager, since 1992 without complaint.

The two companies accused United of attempting to 'prevent legitimate competition in the video games field by preventing parties not licensed by the claimant from using the name of Manchester United football team within such games.'

At a preliminary remote hearing on Friday, Manchester United’s barrister Simon Malynicz QC said “the name ‘Manchester United’ is one of the world’s most valuable and recognised brands”.

He said the money clubs made from licensing their names and logos was “very significant” and “the products and services that are licensed by the claimant benefit from an association with the club’s winning culture and its brand values”.

Malynicz argued Sega and SI “encouraged” the use of patches supplied by third parties “by promoting the patch providers in various ways and, of course, they directly benefited from it by avoiding the need to take any licence and enjoying increased sales of their game”.

Sega and SI said preventing them using Manchester United’s name “would amount to an unreasonable restraint on the right to freedom of expression to restrain the use of the words ‘Manchester United’ to refer to a team in a computer game”.

Mr. Justice Morgan, presiding over the case, reserved his judgement to a later date.




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