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Albert Minn is a patent attorney with 11 years of experience practicing before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  

If you read the title and immediately thought world-famous soccer, er football player Lionel Messi and Massi who, then you’re part of the general audience the European Court of Justice imagined when faced with Lionel Messi’s journey to register his name as a trademark.

In a nine-year legal battle, the EU court dismissed an appeal from Spanish cycling company Massi and the EU’s intellectual property office, EUIPO.

Messi first applied to trademark his surname as a sportswear brand in 2011, but Massi has argued that the similarity between their logos would cause confusion. Like the United States, other jurisdictions will deny registrations of trademarks if a likelihood of confusion between the marks would occur.

Messi, 33, has been crowned world football player of the year a record six times and is one of the world’s highest-paid soccer players. Forbes has placed his total earnings for 2020 at $126m. And in August, he made world headlines by sending a fax to his club declaring his intention to leave. Although Messi ultimately stayed with Barcelona, the reverberations he made only further proves that his surname and logo has become distinct because of his skill and fame.

But perhaps your surname hasn’t reached that level of notoriety… yet. Can I get a trademark registered that includes my surname? Can I register a logo with my name in the logo? If you have questions like this or other questions about whether your trademark would be confusing, or if you are thinking about protecting a new possible trademark, give Grell & Watson a call at (919) 825-3309!