– Derek Allen, Attorney –
If you’re anything like me (and for your sake, let’s hope you’re not), you’ve spent a bit too much time watching soccer over the last few weeks as Europe’s best teams have competed for the European championship, in a tournament most often referred to simply as the Euros. For many diehards, this tournament surpasses the World Cup because of the level of play — there aren’t any Saudi Arabias, North Koreas, or South Africas to water down the competition. Of course, I wouldn’t dare take an extended lunch a few times per week to watch the games (that was just a look-alike sitting at Dan Kelly’s), but if I had, I would have been treated to numerous “trademark” displays.
The English crashed out on penalties, again. The French were at each others’ throats, again. The Portuguese continue what appears to be a team-wide audition for a hair gel/abdominal workout infomercial. An Italian defender literally gagged his own teammate, the mercurial Mario Balotelli, after Balotelli scored perhaps the goal of the tournament because, according to the defender, “what he said [when he scored], he said in English and I didn’t understand, so I put my hand in front of his mouth just in case.” And, as has been the case recently, Spain and Germany continue to outclass everyone.
Along with those informal trademarks, the group that runs the tournament, the Union des Associations Européennes de Football, or UEFA, has registered a number of marks including “UEFA EURO 2012” and “EURO 2012 UEFA POLAND-UKRAINE.” Individual players are in on the act, too. Before you develop a fragrance that smells like Sweden star Zlatan Ibrahimović, you should be aware that Zlatan himself has beaten you to the punch. The same goes for England striker Wayne Rooney, who thought of a reality series before you did where the pug-faced, gerontophiliac finds the best soccer player on the streets of England.
If there’s a lesson in all of this, it’s similar to that forwarded by DuetsBlog’s own Susan Perera when she wrote about the 2010 World Cup or Sharon Armstrong when she wrote about this year’s Olympics: organizations that run these types of events don’t take kindly to infringers. And, in the case of England, another lesson was painfully learned: practice your penalty kicks.