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Maradona’s heirs win EU trademark fight against soccer player’s ex-lawyer

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A man walks past a mural depicting late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in New York City, New York, U.S. March 28, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights  

The heirs of Diego Maradona who died three years ago on Tuesday won their fight to use the Argentine soccer genius’s name after Europe’s top court said Argentine company Sattvica belonging to his former lawyer was not entitled to the trademark.

Maradona secured an EU trademark to his name for clothing, footwear, hospitality and IT services in 2008.

After his death in 2020, Sattvica asked the EU patent office EUIPO to transfer the trademark to the company based on a 2015 document issued by Maradona authorising Sattvica’s commercial use of the trade mark and another undated agreement.

Maradona’s heirs subsequently asked EUIPO to strike out the transfer registered in its record.

The EU patent agency in a decision last year said Sattvica had not submitted documents confirming the transfer of the trademark to the company. Sattvica then took its case to the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second highest.

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“The documents produced by that company do not formally justify an assignment of the trade mark in its favour under a contract signed between the two parties (Sattvica and Maradona),” judges said.

“Furthermore, as Maradona had died before the request for registration of the transfer was submitted, Sattvica could not correct the irregularities found. Nor was it able to produce any other documents,” they said.

Sattvica can appeal to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s top court.

Maradona rose to stardom from a Buenos Aires slum to lead Argentina to World Cup victory, gaining the iconic status of fellow Argentines Che Guevara and Evita Peron.

The case is T-299/22 | Sattvica v EUIPO – Maradona and Others (DIEGO MARADONA).

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-Reuters

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.