Manchester United sues Football Manager

Friends of Football Manager Guru today we are talking about a rights issue that the company that owns FM is having. We have just found out that Manchester United’s lawyers have decided to sue Football Manager for alleged trademark infringement by using the club’s name.

Dispute against Sports Interactive

In fact, Manchester United has found that its name is featured extensively in the game and has taken legal action against Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive, claiming that both have infringed its trademark on its logo, due to the simulation not using United’s official crest.

Instead, the logo was replaced by a “simplified red and white striped” design. United believes that this representation “deprives the registered owner of his right to license the club’s crest.”

For their part, Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive respond to the fact, saying they have legitimately used United’s name in a soccer context in all versions of Football Manager, and its predecessor, Championship Manager, since 1992 without complaint.

The producers of the best-looking manager game ever, strongly argue that Manchester United is trying to:

“prevent legitimate competition in the field of video games by preventing parties not authorised by the applicant from using the name of the Manchester United football club in such games”.


Manchester United sues Football Manager

United’s lawyer Simon Malynicz, in particular, said during a preliminary hearing on Friday that the club’s name “is one of the most valuable and recognized trademarks in the world” and also explained that the money earned by the teams by licensing their names and logos was significant.

Malynicz said that ‘consumers expect’ to see the United crest next to the club’s name and that Football Manager’s failure to do this ‘amounts to misuse’.

Sega and Sports Interactive themselves “encouraged” the use of downloadable patches containing replica trademarks provided by third parties, Malynicz said.

United said the defendants “benefited directly by avoiding the need to take any licence and by enjoying increased sales of their game”.

Roger Wyand QC, a well-known UK lawyer representing Sega and Sports Interactive, claimed that the “simplified” badge used for United in the game “was one of 14 generic logo templates that are randomly chosen by the Football Manager game engine each time a new game is started” .

Wyand also explained that copies of the game had been sent to a number of United officials and players for several years and that “there have been many positive comments in the press and tweets about the game from them”.

In the written defence of United’s complaint, Wyand added: “In addition, the applicant’s staff working in the data analysis and scouting teams have contacted SI on a number of occasions requesting access to the Football Manager database for scouting and research purposes.”



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