Manchester United Sues Sega For Use Of Man Utd Club Name In Football Manager

Saturday, 23 May 2020
Football Manager series creator Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive (SI Games) has been used by Manchester United for the use of the club name in Football Manager 2020. Story via IGN and The Guardian.

Manchester United Sues Football Manager Creators Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive (SI Games)

Manchester United are suing Football Manager for allegedly infringing its trademark by using the club’s name in the game. Manchester United also alleged that SI Games infringed on their trademark by not using the actual Manchester United logo, and instead using a simpler default red and white logo.

Manchester United said that this “deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed.”

Sega and SI Games have rebutted by saying that the use of Manchester United’s name is “a legitimate reference to the Manchester United football team in a football context” and added that the club name has been used in the video game franchise since 1992, when it was known as Championship Manager, according to the Guardian.

Both sides of the lawsuit exchanged statements asserting their own control over or freedom to use the club name.

Manchester United lawyer Simon Malynicz QC stated that the club’s name is one of the most valuable brands in the world, adding that the money received from licensing is “very significant,” and that Sega’s use of the Manchester United name benefits their own properties.

“Consumers expect to see the club crest next to the name Manchester United,” Malynicz said, “and this failure to do so amounts to wrongful use.”

Malynicz asked Mr. Justice Morgan, the judge overseeing the lawsuit proceedings, to allow Manchester United to amend the claim against Sega and SI Games to include the use of patches and mods, arguing that the use of such modifications allows players to incorporate the Manchester United logo into their game without proper licensing.

“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,” Sega and SI Games said in a written defence.

Sega and SI Games also added that efforts to prevent the companies from using the Manchester United 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.”

“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,” Wyand stated, adding “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.”

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