Man United sues management simulation game over use of name

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FILE – In this Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 file photo, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford during their English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are expected to be available for Manchester United whenever the Premier League is allowed to resume after its suspension because of the coronavirus outbreak. Rashford is United’s top scorer and Pogba is the club’s most high-profile player. They were both sidelined with long-term injuries at the time play was halted in England. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, file)

LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is suing the makers of the “Football Manager” video game series for allegedly infringing its trademark by using the club’s name.

The English Premier League side has taken legal action against the developers of the popular football management simulation for replacing the club logo with a simplified red and white striped version.

United claims this “deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed.”

Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive said they have been legitimately using the club’s name in a football context in “Football Manager” and its predecessor, “Championship Manager,” since 1992 without any complaints.

Data analytics and talent scouts working for United contacted SI asking for access to the Football Manager database for research purposes, according to the gaming companies. Being unable to reference United “would amount to an unreasonable restraint on the right to freedom of expression,” they argued.

At a preliminary remote hearing on Friday, United barrister Simon Malynicz said the money clubs make from licensing their names and logos was very significant.

“Consumers expect to see the club crest next to the name Manchester United … and this failure to do so amounts to wrongful use,” Malynicz said.

Sega and SI “encouraged” the use of downloadable patches containing replica trademarks which are supplied by third parties, Malynicz said.


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