Celebrities regularly come up against these trademark hijackers, who try to benefit financially by hitching a ride on their famous name. In this case, a Portuguese entrepreneur had registered the name NEYMAR as an EU trademark in 2012. Neymar filed an opposition to it in 2016.
After years of legal wrangling, the General Court of the European Union has now concluded that the trademark was registered in bad faith, since at the time it was applied for – 2012 – Neymar was already a world-famous footballer. By registering NEYMAR as a trademark, the applicant was clearly trying to piggyback on Neymar’s celebrity status. The fact that the footballer wasn't a player in Europe until 2013, when he joined FC Barcelona, was irrelevant, the Court said. Another indicator of bad faith was that the same individual had applied to register the name of another well-known footballer, Spanish goalie Iker Casillas, on the same day. The Court therefore concluded that the applicant clearly had a knowledge of football.
The ruling was an important victory for Neymar, who’s fighting a similar case in the Benelux. NLO Shieldmark, which conducted an opposition on his behalf, has already managed to get a trademark application for NEYMAR, for sports gear, overturned.