Manchester United SUE Football Manager creators over alleged trademark infringement

Paola Ditto
Mag 23, 2020

Manchester United are suing the makers of the popular Football Manager series for allegedly infringing their trademark by using the club's name "extensively throughout the game".

The club have also argued that both companies infringed its trademark over its logo, due to the simulation not using the official United crest. The logo has instead been replaced by "a simplified red and white striped" design.

United believe that this depiction "deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed".

Sega and SI responded with a written response to the club's claim: "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 can not now complain of such use".

Sega and SI have accused United of trying to "prevent legitimate competition in the video games field by preventing parties not licensed by the claimant from using the name of the Manchester United football team within such games".

At a remote hearing on Friday, United's barrister Simon Malynicz QC asked Mr Justice Morgan to allow the club to amend its claim against Sega and SI to include allegations involving "the practice of supplying "patches" or 'mods, ' essentially downloadable files containing replica trademarks, which consumers then incorporate into the game".

"The defence boils down to this: "[it] 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".

Wyand added, "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".

What's more, they claim that member of Manchester United data analytics and scouting teams have contacted Sport Interactive on a number of occasions requesting access to their scouting system database.

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