A Danish hit against the football Super League

As it is already well-known the so-called Super League failed to emerge in the football world after serious critics from fens, football authorities and even politicians. And although the league is now only a dream for some of the involved clubs, problems regarding it continue. This blog mentioned some time ago that the organizers of this new project filed the following European trademark for classes 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45:

We predicted that this trademark application could have oppositions based on earlier marks for Super League. However, our search missed catching some of the variations of this mark. And one of these earlier variations emerged on the scene with full force.

The Danish Football Federation filed an opposition against the above mentioned Super League mark on the ground of the following two marks:

–   – № VR 2009 01457, Filing date: 02/04/2009

SUPERLIGA – № VR 2001 00163, Filing date: 10/08/2000

Both of the marks are registered in class 41: creating and organizing sports activities, including sports events, all related to football.

A list of evidence was added to the opposition showing how these marks are used in the market. In other words SUPERLIGA is the name of the Danish national football championship which was founded under this name in 1991.

The Danish Federation has one European trademark for SUPERLIGA too which, however, was not mentioned in the opposition.

It is interesting what the result of this dispute will be. At first glance, the mark applied for and the earlier signs are similar enough at least from phonetic and conceptual point of view. What’s more they cover similar and identical services.

The key moment here can be to what extent Super League is a distinctive sign. Our research shows that this name is used for other championships too, for instance the Serbian one is called Superliga. In addition the Polish handball championship has the same name, registered as a combined Polish trademark for sport competitions.

Having said all of that, the question is why such a name should be selected for a trademark as a whole. Yes, on one hand it is logical for sport tournaments, but from another, if the organizers want to license this mark, to sell merchandising etc., it should be distinctive enough, otherwise its protection and enforcement could be difficult at least at the start without secondary acquired reputation.