The dangers of copyright disputes arising from the use of football club badges
In January 2017, the Italian football club Juventus unveiled a new club crest. The familiar silhouette of a charging bull against the fabled black and white stripes will now be replaced by a black and white letter J in the shape of a shield. Speaking about the new crest, Juventus’ club president, Andrea Agnelli, stated that:
“this new logo is a symbol of the Juventus way of living. We spent a year trying to find out what the new markets want, but also to show a sense of belonging and looking to the future.”
Yet the new badge has not proved to be universally popular. Many questioned why the club needed to replace its present badge, the constituent elements of which have been used since the 1930s (save for a period in the 1970s and 1980s when the iconic bull – a symbol of Turin – was replaced on the shirts of La Vecchia Signora by a zebra).
The redesign showed the perils of football clubs departing from tradition, particularly where the club crest is concerned. Popular opinion may, however, be the least of a club’s concerns. A number of cases show the importance of bearing in mind the legal implications that may arise as a result of the use, or change of, a football club’s crest.
Get access to this article and all of the expert analysis and commentary at LawInSport
Already a member?
Articles, webinars, conference videos and podcast transcripts
- Tags: Copyright | Designs and Patents Act 1988 | Football | Intellectual Property | Italy | Spain | United Kingdom (UK)
- Non-traditional trade marks in sports – an EU perspective
- The importance of trade marks in football – controlling brand value & avoiding own goals
- Trade marks in US sports: A review of the Vegas Golden Knights & Milwaukee Bucks applications
- Should managers be required by regulation to pick full-strength sides?