Uses and Abuses of Trademarks and Copyright

Manchester_United_FC_crest.pngA pair of artists known as Alex and Sian, who help collectors of Panini football stickers fill spaces in their albums by providing hand drawn space-filler portrait stickers have been barred from drawing Manchester United players.

The pair created Panini Cheapskates because they had so many duplicate stickers from the 2014 World Cup edition which required 681 stickers to fill the album.

Manchester United has now forced them to stop drawing Manchester United players, claiming that the drawings infringe its intellectual property and has thought them to take down their advert on the Etsy website.

A Manchester United spokesperson said: “While we understand the situation with Panini Cheapskates, permission to use Manchester United’s IP is only granted to official licensees, partners and sponsors of the club.”

“Because Panini Cheapskate’s items featured the Manchester United word mark, they, unfortunately, infringed those IP rights and therefore, removed them from their site.”

Panini Cheapskate have now published an image of a “generic unaffiliated football man Djimi Berbles” followed by the Bulgarian flag. Some might argue that this generic football man bears a resemblance to former Manchester United forward, the Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov. Panini Cheapskate has announced that this sticker is part of its “Man Red” range of stickers, that are made up of “entirely fictitious” footballers from an unnamed northern club who play in red. All the proceeds of the Man Red stickers will go to Cancer Research UK. For more details, see here.


We are proud to handle the Red Devil’s trademark portfolio in Israel. Particularly since  Manchester United is probably the most famous sporting team in the world. Period.

(Unfortunately, since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, they haven’t been doing as well as have in previous years, but they were a great team before Ferguson, under Sir Matt Busby, with players like George Best and Bobby Charlton, and will probably be a great team again).  Other great players include the Welshman Billy Meredith (even earlier than Busby’s time), Wayne Rooney and David Beckham.

Whilst I do not want to bite the hand that feeds me, and we do have issues with counterfeit bed-linen, boys clothing, back-packs, pencil cases, wall clocks, and so on, having Manchester United’s logo and branding, coming into Israel, I am less than enamoured with this particular action brought by the client.

Categories: Copyright, trademark, Uncategorized

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