Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, has won a seven-year fight to trademark his own name on sporting goods. The original application was challenged by Spanish cycling brand, Massi, who argued that the similarity in names would cause confusion. In 2011 the European Union Office for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) ruled in favour of Massi, saying “'Massi' and 'Messi', are almost identical visually and phonetically”.
However, the EU General Court have now ruled that Messi was too well known for any confusion to arise. The court said: "The football player's fame counteracts the visual and phonetic similarities" with Massi. Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio,"
The ruling came just days after Messi was named as the highest earning footballer in the world, with an annual income of €126m, overtaking rival Cristiano Ronaldo who earns €94m. Now that Messi can put his own name on sporting goods his annual earnings will only increase, as a new revenue stream has been opened.