Maradona’s Legacy: Of Goals and Brands

Recent Ruling on the “DIEGO MARADONA” Trademark by the European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) recently delivered a landmark verdict in the case involving the trademark “DIEGO MARADONA” (decision of 07.11.2023, T-299/22).

Originally registered by the legendary soccer player Diego Maradona in 2001 for a diverse range of goods and services, the trademark became the focal point of a legal dispute following Maradona’s passing. Sattvica, an Argentinian company owned by Maradona’s former lawyer, claimed rights to the trademark based on two documents allegedly issued by Maradona.

However, the CJEU upheld the decision of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to reject the transfer of the trademark rights to Sattvica. Although the EUIPO initially registered the transfer, it later reversed this decision after an appeal by Maradona’s heirs. The court concluded that the documents provided by Sattvica were insufficient for a legal transfer. Sattvica had presented a 2015 authorization for the commercial use of trademarks and an undated authorization agreement but failed to produce a clear declaration of consent from Maradona confirming the transfer of ownership rights.

This ruling highlights the critical importance of having clear and formal agreements when transferring trademark rights, particularly after the trademark owner’s death. It serves as a vital lesson for businesses and marketing professionals: securing trademark rights necessitates not only creative strategies but also a robust understanding of the legal requirements.

SPIEKER & JAEGER remains dedicated to keeping you informed about this and other significant legal developments. Stay tuned for more insights and analysis on the evolving landscape of intellectual property law.

  • Achim Herbertz

    Dr. Achim Herbertz

    • Lawyer specialising
    • Intellectual property rights