Manchester United is not happy with how Football Manager has been using its name for years.
Sega and Sports Interactive, the publisher and developer behind the very popular management simulation game Football Manager, are being sued by Manchester United.
The Premier League team, according to The Guardian, says the game infringed on its trademark by using its name “extensively throughout the game.” Manchester United also argues that the game infringes on its logo trademark by using a simplified version of the logo, and not its official crest.
Sega’s counterargument was that Football Manager, and its predecessor Championship Manager have been using the Manchester United name since 1992 “without complaint by the claimant,” and that using the name is “a legitimate reference to the Manchester United football team in a football context.”
Sega also argued that the club intends to “prevent legitimate competition in the video games field by preventing parties not licensed by the claimant from using the name of the Manchester United football team within such games,” and that doing so “would amount to an unreasonable restraint on the right to freedom of expression to restrain the use of the words ‘Manchester United’ to refer to a team in a computer game.”
United’s lawyer asked Mr Justice Morgan to amend its claim to include mods and fan patches, which it says were “encouraged” by Sega and SI and “by promoting the patch providers in various ways and, of course, they directly benefited from it by avoiding the need to take any licence and enjoying increased sales of their game.”
Justice Morgan reserved his judgement on United’s application to amend its claim to a later date.