Jose Mourinho has finally signed for Manchester United so we’re all happy…right? Possibly not as Manchester United find themselves in a sticky situation.
Mourinho’s appointment at Manchester United has been delayed until they can resolve an Image rights issue with his former club, Chelsea. In 2005 Chelsea registered ‘Jose Mourinho’ and his signature as a European trademark meaning they can still use his name to sell merchandise, and more importantly – Manchester United can’t.
So what does this mean?
Well, unfortunately for Manchester United this isn’t an issue that can be ignored; if they don’t resolve the issue and Mourinho’s name is used in a commercial capacity, they run the risk of being sued by Chelsea.
So how do they solve this?
Manchester United have a couple of options as to how the might do that; they can pay Chelsea for a licence to use his name on club merchandise, an expensive (expected to cost a six figure sum) yet viable option. They could ask Mourinho to buy the trademark back or United could challenge the trademark if they think they can prove it has not been used by Chelsea (highly unlikely).
Since 2005 Mourinho has actually managed Inter Milan and Real Madrid, meaning both of those clubs managed to find their way around this situation, so hopefully in the not too distant future there will be a resolve.
Image rights were once only known in the world of popstars, models and actors but they are now commonplace for people in the sporting world. Everything including nicknames, slogans and even goal celebrations can be trademarked.
It’s not only Mourinho’s name that’s been given the red card, there’s also potential for conflict between Jaguar and Chevrolet. Why? Well because Jose Mourinho has a personal contract with Jaguar and although Chevrolet couldn’t do much about Jose’s personal deal, Chevrolet could ask him to leave the contract early.
Here at Farleys we have a dedicated sports and media team who have a wealth of experience in dealing with matters such as this. If you require any legal advice in relation to an image rights issue or a contractual dispute stemming from the use of your image, do not hesitate to contact us today to speak to one of our image rights lawyers who will be able to assist in this area.