US man sues soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo over CR7 trademark
Monday, 4 August 2014 00:23
Reuters: Global soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is also known to fans by the shorthand CR7, prompting the company behind his line of sleek underwear to target a Rhode Island man who has trademarked the letter-number combination, according to a new lawsuit.
In a complaint filed in Rhode Island federal court, 43-year-old fitness enthusiast Christopher Renzi said he had received letters from lawyers for the Danish company JBS Textile Group demanding he give up the trademark because it had âimminent plansâ to enter the US market with Ronaldoâs CR7 underwear.
JBS has also asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Renziâs trademark, according to court documents. Renzi is seeking the courtâs declaration that he owns the trademark.
âWe just want them to leave us alone,â said Renziâs attorney Michael Feldhuhn.
Attorneys for JBS could not be reached for comment.
Renzi registered the moniker in 2009 and has put it on jeans and T-shirts, Feldhuhn said. He also has a website advertising a seven-minute fitness workout, also under the CR7 name.
According to the complaint, Renzi adopted the mark based on his initials and the day he was born, Oct. 7.
Court materials showed that JBS, which said it holds the âexclusive, worldwide licenseâ to market Ronaldoâs CR7 underwear, believed Renzi trademarked CR7 specifically to profit from Ronaldoâs soaring fame.
CR7 was âso closely tied to the fame and reputation of Cristiano Ronaldo, that a connection with the soccer player would immediately be presumed by the general public when encounteringâ Renziâs branded clothes, said JBSâs filing with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The 29-year-old Ronaldo, who plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid, is one of the most highly paid and recognizable athletes in the world. He has marketing deals with numerous major companies. His Facebook page has more than 93 million âlikesâ.
One of his latest postings shows a behind-the-scenes underwear photo shoot for a CR7 campaign launching ânext weekâ.
Besides underwear, his brand is already expanding into shirts and shoes.
Ronaldo is a more famous user of CR7, Feldhuhn said, âbut itâs really based on whoâs using it first. We can show we were the first use of the CR7 name in commerce in America.â
Feldhuhn added, âThey donât really have the trademark rights because they havenât used it.â