According to the BBC, José Mourinho will be Louis van Gaal’s successor at Manchester United. Despite recently winning the FA Cup, the most important football cup in England, Manchester United fired van Gaal earlier this week.
José Mourinho is currently in negotiation with Manchester United, and various media, including our client Voetbalzone®, are reporting that these negotiations are being delayed due to the ‘portrait rights’ that are still in the hands of Chelsea, Morinhou’s old club.
The problem lies with the trademark rights on the name and signature of the Portuguese coach, which Chelsea registered back in 2005. The rights were even extended by the club in 2013, for aftershaves, jewellery and teddy bears, among other things.
The trademark rights give Chelsea the exclusive right to use the name and signature for commercial purposes. Taking over these rights might cost Manchester United millions, and the question is how much they are willing to pay for the right to sell Mourinho merchandise. The clubs Internazionale and Real Madrid, where the coach worked after he left Chelsea, neglected the trademark right.
It became clear from an investigation by de Merkplaats that such practice is hardly unusual for Chelsea. The club also owns the trademark rights to the names of former trainer Carlo Ancelotti® and club owner Roman Abramovich®. An interesting detail is that the latter is registered as a trademark for beers and alcoholic beverages.
Entrepreneurs are not the only ones to benefit from protecting and pro-actively guarding their trademark rights; professional athletes and other celebrities do too. De Merkplaats is an adviser to a great many clients in this area, including Edgar Davids, Epke Zonderland®, Armin van Buuren® and Doutzen Kroes®.