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Maradona’s Heirs Triumph in EU Trademark Battle

 |  November 7, 2023

The heirs of Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, who passed away three years ago, have emerged victorious in a high-stakes legal battle for the rights to the iconic athlete’s name. In a landmark decision, Europe’s top court ruled in favor of Maradona’s family, asserting that the Argentine company Sattvica, previously associated with the football superstar’s former lawyer, had no claim to the trademark, reported Reuters.

Diego Maradona had secured a European Union (EU) trademark for his name in 2008, encompassing various categories, including clothing, footwear, hospitality, and IT services. However, following Maradona’s untimely death in 2020, Sattvica initiated proceedings to transfer the trademark to their ownership. They based their claim on a 2015 document that authorized Sattvica’s commercial use of the trademark, as well as another undated agreement.

In response, Maradona’s heirs filed a counterclaim with the EU patent office, EUIPO, to strike out the transfer that had been registered in its records. Last year, the EU patent agency ruled in favor of the Maradona estate, stating that Sattvica had failed to provide the necessary documents to substantiate the transfer of the trademark.

Sattvica subsequently took their case to the General Court, Europe’s second-highest court, which issued a ruling in favor of Maradona’s heirs. The judges at the General Court were categorical in their decision, stating that “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 (Sattvica and Maradona).”

Additionally, they noted that, as Maradona had passed away before the request for the registration of the transfer was submitted, Sattvica was unable to rectify the irregularities or provide any other documents to support their claim.

Despite this setback, Sattvica has the option to appeal the decision to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s highest court.

Diego Maradona’s legacy in the world of football is indelible. Rising from the slums of Buenos Aires, he achieved worldwide fame by leading Argentina to a historic World Cup victory.

Maradona’s iconic status in his home country places him alongside luminaries such as Che Guevara and Eva Perón. The legal battle for the rights to his name, following his untimely death, has now been resolved in favor of his heirs, ensuring that the Maradona name continues to be associated with the legendary figure’s unparalleled footballing legacy.

Source: Reuters