File Image: IOL

INTERNATIONAL - Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, the record four-time world player of the year, won a European Union court challenge over the trademark rights to his own logo, defeating a Spanish cycling clothing maker who owns the name Massi.

The soccer “player’s fame counteracts the visual and phonetic similarities” with the other brand, the EU General Court, said in a decision in Luxembourg on Thursday. The EU judges said Messi should get the EU trademark for the logo, which consists of an emblem with an M, with the name Messi underneath.

The soccer player has fought since 2011 to get the EU trademark rights for the logo which is used for sports clothing and shoes. Jaume Masferrer Coma, the owner of a brand of cycling clothes called Massi, has so far blocked the Argentina national team star, with Coma arguing that he already owned EU trademarks for his brand and allowing Messi to claim one would cause too much confusion with customers.

The EU’s intellectual property office in Alicante, Spain, had ruled against Messi, who in 2014 challenged this decision at the bloc’s second-highest court.

The case is: T-554/14, Messi Cuccittini v EUIPO v. J-M.-E.V. e hijos (MESSI).

-BLOOMBERG