Many athletes benefit from brand protection that allows them to effectively combat opportunism and significantly increase their visibility.

Although a patronymic name constitutes an inalienable and imprescriptible personal right, it can be registered as a brand.

As international sporting events approach, it is important for athletes to protect their name, pseudonym, initials, or signatures as a brand to safeguard the activities they wish to conduct under that brand, not necessarily related to the sport in which they are recognized.

One of the pioneers in this field, tennis player René Lacoste, founded the LACOSTE brand for clothing in 1933. His global fame today is undeniable, and his strategy has proven to be remarkably effective.

Kylian Mbappé is also known as one of the athletes holding brands, whether it is:

a brand associating his first and last name his initials his signature celebration position
Kylian Mbappe initiales signature
(EU brand no. 017157363 of August 30, 2017) (EU brand no. 017157348 of August 30, 2017) (EU brand no. 018025774 of February 20, 2019)

Indeed, the athlete can register their family name, such as the NEYMAR brand registered for perfumes in class 3, jewelry in class 14, bags in class 18 (French brand no. 3852217 of August 10, 2011), or for clothing in class 25 and entertainment services in class 41 (EU brand no. 3789161 of December 9, 2010).

Or the registered brand of the famous equestrian PENELOPE LE PREVOST for jewelry or equestrian products (French brand no. 3768247 of September 21, 2010).

These brand examples demonstrate the possibility of varying the registered signs and the products and services claimed by the brands, thus optimizing protection and financial returns.

Beyond the recognition of their sports performances, an athlete can enjoy many other benefits by registering their patronymic brand. While it primarily ensures a monopoly of exploitation allowing them to control the use of their patronymic name and image, it also allows them to:

  • Contribute to building a strong personal brand for the athlete and thereby increase their visibility. Additionally, strengthening consumer trust and credibility in the brand adds long-term value to their patronymic name.
  • Oppose any registration and use of a sign identical or similar to their patronymic brand without authorization. In this sense, footballer NEYMAR was notably able to oppose the registration of POGBA brands. Our team will soon publish an article presenting examples of athletes who have used trademark law to defend their rights;
  • Benefit from financial advantages by concluding licensing contracts for the exploitation of their patronymic brand;
  • Enjoy financial returns from the use of their name in business while protecting their fame and image.

However, it is necessary to exercise caution when registering a brand, particularly distinguishing between personal rights and trademark rights and ensuring the necessary prior searches are conducted before filing a trademark.

Lavoix teams remain at your disposal to advise you on the protection of your patronymic brands and more generally on the conditions of their protection.

Published On: 7 June 2024Categories: PublicationsTags: ,

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