Manchester United is suing the makers of the “Football Manager” series of video games, accusing them of using the club’s name to infringe its trademark. The Premier League has taken legal action against the developers of the popular football management simulation program, replacing the club logo with a simplified version with red and white stripes. Manchester United claimed that this “deprived the registered owner of the right to own the club emblem.”
Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive stated that since 1992, they have been legally using the club’s name in the context of football “Football Manager” and its predecessor “Champion Manager” without any complaints.
According to the game company, data analysis and talent detectives working for Manchester United contacted SI to request access to the Football Manager database for research purposes. They believe that it is impossible to mention that Manchester United “will constitute an unreasonable restriction on the right to freedom of speech.”
At a preliminary remote hearing on Friday, Co-Barrister Simon Malynicz stated that the money club obtained by licensing its name and logo is significant.
“Consumers want to see that the club is named Manchester United… This is an incorrect use,” Malynicz said.
Malynicz said that Sega and SI “encourage” the use of downloadable patches provided by third parties that contain copied trademarks.
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