Manchester United Sues SEGA and Sports Interactive Over Use of its Name


Fans of Sports Interactive’s Football Manager series and for those that date back to Championship Manager will know that despite the game not having officially licensed clubs crests, kits and sponsorships attached to said clubs, the series is always know for its simulation depth and realism when it comes to managing your favourite football teams.  Despite teams not being officially kitted out, clubs have retained their real names, colours, players and staff.  However, this is where football giant Manchester United have taken issue with, as they aim to sue Sega and developer Sports Interactive over the use of the name.

Officials at Manchester United claim that by “replacing the club crest with a simplified red and white striped logo” it “deprives the registered proprietor of its right to have the club crest licensed” by using the clubs name “extensively throughout the game” and that “consumers expect to see the club crest next to the name Manchester United, and this failure to do so amounts to wrongful use.

So going by what’s said by Manchester United officials in the above paragraph, they are suing Sega and Sports Interactive for using the club name and colours without permission, but also because they are not using the official crest.

Naturally Sega and Sports Interactive are fighting back and say that the use of the club’s name is “a legitimate reference to the Manchester United football team in a football context” and said that this use has been the way ever since 1992 with predecessor Championship Managerwithout complaint by the claimant”.  Which begs the question, why wait 18 years to make a claim?  I know Manchester United are not the team they used to be, but are the financial repercussions of COVID-19 really hitting them that hard?

To add, Manchester United’s barrister Simon Malynicz QC said that “the name ‘Manchester United’ is one of the world’s most valuable and recognised brands” and that the money made from the use of its name and logo’s was “very significant” and that “the products and services that are licensed by the claimant benefit from an association with the club’s winning culture and its brand values”.

Malynicz also argued the use of user created mods by saying that Sega and Sports Interactive “encourage” the use of mods and that “by promoting the patch providers in various ways and, of course, they directly benefited from it by avoiding the need to take any licence and enjoying increased sales of their game”.  Now whether that latest statement is true,  with or without any encouragement, mods are user created, the community will create them regardless and I believe there’s not a lot that can be done about that, despite what Manchester United officials may or may not believe, but I could be wrong.

That all said, do you agree with the actions of Manchester United attempting to sue Sega and Sports Interactive?  Let us know your opinions across our social media channels, it will be particularly interesting to hear the thoughts of Manchester United fans that play Football Manager.

Source: The Guardian

Leave a Comment