Manchester United is suing the creators of the "Football Manager" video game series for allegedly infringing on its trademark by using the club name. The English Premier League team has taken legal action against the developers of the popular football management simulation to replace the club logo with a simplified version of red and white stripes. United states that this "deprives the registered owner of his right to obtain the club's shield license."
Sega Publishing and Sports Interactive said they have legitimately used the club name in a soccer context in "Football Manager" and its predecessor, "Championship Manager", since 1992 without complaint.
Data analytics and headhunters working for United contacted SI to request access to the Football Manager database for investigative purposes, according to the gaming companies. Being unable to refer to United "would amount to an unreasonable restriction on the right to freedom of expression," they argued.
In a preliminary remote hearing on Friday, United's attorney Simon Malynicz said the money the clubs earn from licensing their names and logos was very significant.
"Consumers expect to see the club crest next to the Manchester United name … and this failure amounts to illicit use," said Malynicz.
Sega and SI "encouraged" the use of downloadable patches containing replicas of trademarks that are supplied by third parties, Malynicz said.