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Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, left behind an enduring legacy both on and off the field. In addition to his incredible skills and achievements, Maradona recognized the importance of protecting his personal brand. By registering his name as a trademark, he took proactive steps to ensure that his identity was safeguarded and that his heirs would have control over his intellectual property.
Diego Maradona's heirs have successfully defended their claim to the late soccer star's trademark following a legal battle (case T-299/22 Sattvica v EUIPO) over its ownership rights. The case, brought in on May 23, 2022, resulted in Maradona's heirs now retaining control of the trademarked name, originally registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office in 2008 for various product categories, including clothing, footwear, and headgear.
The European Union's general court has confirmed its rejection of transferring the trademark to Sattvica, an Argentine company connected to Maradona's former lawyer. The court emphasized that the submitted documents failed to justify the trademark assignment to Sattvica. Consequently, the court's decision supports the continuation of Maradona's heirs as the rightful owners of the trademark.
"The documents submitted in support of the request for registration of the transfer do not justify an assignment of the trademark to that company," the court said.
Maradona died in November 2020, and Sattvica later requested EUIPO to register the trademark transfer based on two documents issued by Maradona. After EUIPO registered the transfer, Maradona's heirs had it canceled, and Sattvica asked the EU court to annul the decision.
His death triggered a series of legal battles. The football star's nurses are being prosecuted for providing him inadequate care, while his heirs — namely five of his eight children — are fighting over his estate.
Several estimates of Maradona's wealth circulated at his death, ranging from $75 million to $100 million.
EUIPO initially acknowledged the transfer, but the decision was later contested and canceled by Maradona's heirs, leading to a protracted legal duel. "The Court dismisses Sattvica's action," it said. "It confirms the EUIPO's assessment: the documents produced by that company do not formally justify an assignment of the trademark in its favor under a contract signed between the two parties.
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." Sattvica can appeal the decision to the EU Court of Justice, Europe's top court.
As this legal victory solidifies the control of Maradona's trademark within the hands of his heirs, it contributes to the ongoing process of resolving the complex legal challenges surrounding the football legend's estate. This goes to show the importance of preserving one's name as a brand, and how such proactive steps can help in securing futures. In the words of Maradona's iconic No.10 jersey – it's about "being in control of the game".
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Lindokuhle Mkhize, a skilled creative copywriter and content lead at Trademarkia, brings a wealth of experience in driving innovation and managing teams. With previous success in starting and growing the Innovation and Marketing department at her former creative agency, Lindokuhle boasts expertise in leadership and delivering compelling content. Based in South Africa, Lindokuhle's work focuses on key themes of creativity, effective communication, and strategic marketing.
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