Carlos Moreira vs EUIPO (T 795/17)

(Judgement of the General Court (Third Chamber) of May 14, 2019, ECLI:EU:T:2019:329)

On 17.12.2012 Carlos Moreira filed an application for registration of an EU word trademark NEYMAR (further: Neymar trademark) for goods in class 25. Neymar Da Silva Santos Júnior filed an application for a declaration of invalidity based on bad faith application. The Neymar trademark was cancelled and the applicant filed an appeal.

Applicant claimed that the BoA was wrong to find that he was acting in bad faith when filing the application for registration of the Neymar trademark. He argued that the BoA incorrectly assessed that when filing an application, the applicant knew that Neymar was a rising star in football who was known internationally and his only aim when filing the trademark was to exploit Neymar’s reputation for his benefit. The applicant denied having intended to benefit illegally from the football player’s renown by seeking registration of the Neymar trademark.

EUIPO stayed that the evidences gathered in the case shows that Neymar was internationally known under his first name, Neymar, and that he was already known in Europe at the contested trademark application date, in particular for his performances for the Brazilian national football team. It was underlined that on the same day when contested trademark was filed, the applicant filed another football player name - IKER CASILLAS- as a trademark.

GC noticed that BoA relied on objective factors from a portfolio of evidence consisting of press and internet articles to determine that the Neymar was a very talented footballer who already had global standing in the world of football at the relevant date. The fact that on the same day applicant filed another football player name as a trademark shows that he has knowledge of football and football players. The above confirms applicant’s intention on filing Neymar trademark. The evidence and circumstances of the case proves that real purpose of the commercial logic behind the contested trademark filing was to ‘free-ride’ on the Neymar reputation and take advantage of that reputation that make the intention dishonest. Considering the above, the GC shared BoA finding that applicant was acting in bad faith when he filed the application for registration of the Neymar trademark.