Lionel Messi, the prolific Barcelona forward, has been in the news again recently; but surprisingly not for his footballing prowess.

For the last seven years, Messi has fought a legal battle in the EU’s General Court so that he could register his name as a Trade Mark to be used on sporting goods. Only fair given the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo doing the same, some might say.

Spanish bicycle manufacturer, “Massi”, had other ideas.

Massi challenged Lionel Messi’s application to register his own name as a trade mark on the basis that the names were too similar and would cause confusion in the marketplace. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) agreed, stating that the words “…’Massi’ and ‘Messi’, are almost identical visually and phonetically”.

People and businesses wishing to register trade marks should be acutely aware that the ‘mark’ need only be similar to an existing trade mark to come under scrutiny from the EUIPO or the UK’s own Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Thankfully for Mr. Messi, the General Court found that he was far too well-known for any such confusion to arise and allowed him to trade mark his name. Whilst this is clearly good news for the Argentinian, it just shows the time and effort (seven years of time and legal costs) he had to go to.

Guy Williams Layton’s Commercial Team has vast experience in providing advice on trade marks on application and through to registration in both the UK and the EU. GWL can also deal with any trade mark disputes, whether from the IPO or third parties, should they arise.

Why not give us a call to find out how you or your business might be able to protect your intellectual property and increase value by registering a name or logo.

For more information call Michael Sandys (Partner) and/ or Chris Emery (Solicitor) at Guy Williams Layton today on 0151 236 7171.