Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley /
16 December 2014Trademarks

Cristiano Ronaldo trademark case stalled

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has stalled an attempt by footballer Cristiano Ronaldo's underwear maker to cancel a man's ‘CR7’ trademark and is instead awaiting the results of a lawsuit before proceeding.

Denmark-based JBS Textile Group—which makes the CR7 brand—had petitioned the USPTO to cancel the trademark owned by 43-year-old Christopher Renzi.

The company, which filed a cancellation request at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) earlier this summer, said it had "imminent" plans to enter the US market.

Renzi, who has had a trademark registration for the term covering jeans as well as an online fitness video since 2009, said CR7 was a play on his initials and his October 7 birthday.

Renzi later sued JBS at the US District Court for the District of Rhode Island seeking the court's approval that the phrase is his. He also asked the TTAB to suspend the hearing.

Real Madrid and ex-Manchester United player Ronaldo is one of the most highly paid and famous sportsmen in the world. He is known to fans by his initials and jersey number, CR7.

In its cancellation request at the USPTO, JBS claimed Renzi registered CR7 in order to profit from Ronaldo's fame.

CR7 was “so 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”, JBS said in the request. It added that it had a “worldwide licence” to the phrase.

The TTAB said on Thursday (December 11) that it would grant Renzi's own request to suspend proceedings in light of the parallel lawsuit. It said this was “standard decision” given that a federal court ruling is often binding on the TTAB but that one by the TTAB is not binding on a federal court.

JBS did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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