La Liga knocked back by General Court in El Clásico trademark bid

La Liga has been rebuffed in its attempts to trademark ‘El Clásico’ after the General Court of the European Union rejected the Spanish governing body’s appeal.

The phrase, which is used to describe the derby between two of Spain’s top teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, was trademarked by La Liga in the US and United Arab Emirates in 2017. However, although the division was granted permission in the two regions by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), it is now looking for similar recognition in Europe.

The General Court ruled: “The evidence presented by LaLiga, taken individually or as a whole, did not demonstrate that, on the date of the application for registration, a significant part of the relevant public perceived the trademark applied for as an indication of the commercial origin of the services it designates.”

Although La Liga argued that El Clásico’s association with the teams has developed a ‘high level of knowledge, popularity and reputation’ surrounding the phrase, the General Court ruled ‘absolute denial’ of the trademark registration.

La Liga already had an appeal rejected by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), before approaching and being knocked back by the Luxembourg-based General Court.

Spanish newspaper El País reported that EUIPO opposed the appeal on the grounds that ‘the expression ‘El Clásico’ will be perceived by the Spanish, French, German, Dutch and Portuguese public as an expression used to describe a sporting confrontation that exists between teams with a notable rivalry, not only in the case of football matches, but also other sports’.

In the wake of both rejections, La Liga’s final option is to appeal the General Court’s ruling to the European Court of Justice.