The match between PSG and Lyon of December 1st 2013 caused a bit of a shock in the world of football, as the starting team did not include any Parisian - or even French - players at all; a situation that had never occurred before in the French football championship.
Although it is permitted under the French professional football charter to recruit football players who are nationals from member countries of the EU or the European Economic Area, without any limitations, and no minimum quotas are imposed for inclusion of French players in the teams, this match is set to continue and move a lot of football fans who would like to see national French players in the field.
The club's quest for excellence amongst players from around the world seems to be in contradiction with the image the club is willing to give, in view of its registered trademarks.
Would that mean that one of the highest ranking teams in France would be losing part of its connection to France and would break loose from its distinguishing signs?
Let alone the players, the team's identifying features are the PSG official playground, which is located within Paris proper, as well as the club's trademarks, which are well known to the public.
The vast majority of the registered trademarks that include the "PSG" acronym and/or the term "Paris Saint-Germain" are French trademarks, and the logo has clearly changed:
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It can be observed that:
- Focus is clearly placed on the term "Paris"
- The Eiffel Tower is always included in the logo, in blue and red, which symbolize the city (along with the "fleur-de-lys").
It can also be seen that the cradle - which is the symbol of the town of Saint-Germain en Laye (which makes part of the history of the club) has now disappeared, just like the year of foundation of the club (1970).
It would seem that the club has refocused its whole communication on the term PARIS and on one of the city's iconic monuments - the Eiffel Tower.
The most recent logo looks more like the emblem of the city of Paris than that of a football club. It was filed on 20 June 2013 (and has not been registered yet) in a great number of classes: 3, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, and is affixed onto a high number of merchandising products, such as gloves:
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Would that mean that the Parisian club is willing to have its origin clearly anchored in the city of Paris? And does the club tend to take advantage of the notoriety of the term "Paris", which the city of Paris (a contractual partner of the PSG) is trying hard to protect as a trademark, through increasing protection and communication efforts?
In any case, this demonstrates the dichotomy that exists between the trademark "Paris Saint-Germain", which is composed of a well-known distinctive sign designating a Parisian activity, and its Qatari owner. And this is all the more true when the trademark is affixed on players who are neither Parisian nor simply French.
This raises an issue: how ensure the major function of the trademark - i.e. guarantee the origin of the contents onto which the trademark is affixed?
The match of 1st December last year, and the resulting communication thus show the contradiction that may exist between a trademark - whose purpose is to guarantee the origin of the respective product or service, on the one hand, and the activities, developments and other aspects that are specific to this trademark’s owner on the other hand.
This comes as an additional challenge the Qataris must confront, but also as a bet that victory will bring and hold everyone together!