Sega Sued by Manchester United for Football Manager's Use of Club Name

Manchester United, one of Europe’s top football clubs, has sued Football Manager series creator Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive (SI Games) for allegedly infringing on the use of its trademarked club name “extensively throughout the game” according to the Guardian.

The football club 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 stated 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.

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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.

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