Water cooler and triangular chairs

Sega’s battle against Man Utd in Football Manager trade mark case ends in settlement

25 November 2021. Published by Jeremy Drew, Head of TMT and Samuel Coppard, Associate and Harvey Briggs, Trainee Solicitor

As first published by leading sports law resource LawInSport, Jeremy Drew, Samuel Coppard and Harvey Briggs discuss the settlement reached in the trade mark infringement proceedings brought by Man United against Sega and Sports Interactive in relation to Football Manager and offer key considerations when settling disputes of this nature.

In August 2018, Manchester United FC brought trade mark infringement proceedings in the Business and Property Courts (Intellectual Property List) of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales (the Court) against Sega (the publisher) and Sports Interactive (SI) (the developer), in relation to the Football Manager video game series.  The claims included the use of the club's name without a licence and, interestingly, not using the club crest when consumers would have expected to see it. Our previous article, which considered the underlying trade mark action in more detail, and the Court's refusal to permit Man United to amend its claim, can be found here.

Almost three years after proceedings were commenced, a settlement has now been reached between the parties and the claim has been discontinued. Whilst no financial aspects of the settlement have been disclosed, this article provides:

  • A brief recap of the litigation.
  • An examination of some aspects of the settlement.
  • Key points to consider when settling trade mark disputes.

This piece was written for and first published by LawInSport. The full version is available to view here [paywall for if reading more than a certain number of articles per month].