Last Updated: 22/05/20 6: 14 pm
Manchester United are taking legal action against the makers of the Football Manager collection for purportedly infringing their hallmark by utilizing the club’s name “extensively throughout the game”.
The English Premier League side have actually taken lawsuit versus Sega Publishing and also Sports Interactive (SI) – the author and also programmer of the prominent football administration simulation.
The club likewise say Sega and also SI have actually infringed their hallmark over their logo design by not making use of the authorities Manchester United crest in the game, rather “replacing the club crest with a simplified red and white striped logo”.
Manchester United insurance claim this “deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed”.
Sega and also SI claim the use of the club’s name is “a legitimate reference to the Manchester United football team in a football context” and also has actually been made use of in Football Manager and also its precursor, Championship Manager, because 1992 “without complaint by the claimant”.
The firms have actually implicated the club of attempting to “prevent legitimate competition in the video games field by preventing parties not licensed by the claimant from using the name of the Manchester United football team within such games”.
At an initial remote hearing on Friday, Manchester United’s lawyer Simon Malynicz QC claimed “the name ‘Manchester United’ is one of the world’s most valuable and recognised brands”.
He claimed the cash clubs make from accrediting their names and also logo designs is “very significant” and also “the products and services that are licensed by the claimant benefit from an association with the club’s winning culture and its brand values”.
Mr Malynicz suggested, in relationship to the claimed violation of the hallmark on Man Utd’s logo design, that “consumers expect to see the club crest next to the name Manchester United … and this failure to do so amounts to wrongful use”.
He approved this debate is “somewhat novel, and certainly in the context of video games, but it is certainly arguable”.
The lawyer asked Mr Justice Morgan to permit the club to change their insurance claim versus Sega and also SI to consist of accusations entailing “the practice of supplying ‘patches’ or ‘mods’, essentially downloadable files containing replica trademarks, which consumers then incorporate into the game”.
Mr Malynicz suggested Sega and also SI “encouraged” the use of spots provided by 3rd 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”.
Roger Wyand QC, standing for the accuseds, opposed the club’s application to change their insurance claim.
In their composed protection to Man Utd’s insurance claim, Sega and also SI claimed: “The claimant has acquiesced in the use by the defendants of the name of the Manchester United football team in the Football Manager game and cannot now complain of such use.”
Mr Wyand suggested the “simplified” club badge made use of in the game is “one of 14 generic logo templates that is randomly chosen by the Football Manager game engine each time a new game is started” and also “clearly indicates that the use of the (logo of) Manchester United is not licensed by the claimant”.
Sega and also SI claimed avoiding them making use of 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 Wyand explained that “copies of the game have also been sent by SI to a number of officials and players at the (club) for a number of years and there have been a number of positive press comments and tweets about the game by them”.
He included: “Further, the claimant’s staff working in the data analytics and scouting teams have contacted SI on various occasions asking for access to the Football Manager database for scouting and research purposes.”
The QC ended “there is no likelihood of confusion or damage to the claimant’s EU trademarks … caused by the defendants’ activities”.
Mr Justice Morgan scheduled his reasoning on Man Utd’s application to change its insurance claim to a later day.