(CN) – A Portuguese man acted in bad faith by trying to trademark the name of Brazil’s Neymar while also claiming that he did not grasp the soccer player’s stardom, the European General Court ruled Tuesday.
Neymar, whose full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., had to apply to cancel the mark once the European Union Intellectual Property Office issued it in 2013 to Carlos Moreira for clothing, footwear and headgear.
Unmoved by the soccer star’s protest, however, Moreira brought an unsuccessful appeal before EUIPO and then petitioned the General Court in Luxembourg to reinstate the mark.
EUIPO officials balked at Moreira’s claim that he had applied for the trademark in 2012 without comprehending that Neymar was a star on the rise.
Neymar made his professional debut for the Brazilian sports club Santos FC in 2009 when he just 17. Before he was signed with Barcelona in 2013, the forward had been twice named South American Footballer of the Year. Today the 27-year-old plays for the French team Paris Saint-Germain, is the third highest goalscorer for Brazil’s national team, and is considered one of the best players in the world.
Rumors of Neymar’s recruitment to Europe began swirling in 2012, but Tuesday’s ruling paraphrases Moreira as insisting that Neymar was not yet known in Europe when he registered for the mark.
As summarized in the ruling, Moreira called it common that “promising young footballers end up not having the careers initially envisioned for them,” and he asked the court to ignore the fact that he had tried to register the name of Iker Casillas, another famous soccer player, on the same day in 2012.
The Third Chamber of the General Court found Moreira’s arguments unavailing, agreeing with the appeals board that the Iker Casillas attempt speaks strongly to Moreira’s knowledge of the soccer world.
“As rightly contended by EUIPO, the Board of Appeal’s finding that the applicant was acting in bad faith when he filed the application for registration of the contested mark is based on the applicant’s dishonest intention at the relevant date,” the ruling states. “Moreover, the assessment itself as to whether that intent was dishonest follows from the fact that that application for registration was filed deliberately with the purpose of creating an association with the intervener’s name in order to benefit from its attractive force.”