Danish Superliga wins trademark suit over European Super League

The European Super League (ESL) cannot register its name as a trademark in the European Union because Denmark’s top flight already holds the trademark rights to the ‘Super League’ brand, the Danish Superliga said on Wednesday.

The ESL, which first launched in April 2021 as a would-be replacement for UEFA’s Champions League, had sought to register its name as a trademark with the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO.

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The Danish Superliga said EUIPO had now ruled in its favour and the Super League would have to either change its name, or appeal the decision.

“We are very happy that the EU’s trademark authority has agreed that the trademark ‘The Super League’ in the EU will violate the value that the Danish clubs have invested in 3F Superliga,” CEO Claus Thomsen said.

“We have always been against the big clubs’ desire for a new European league.

“We believe there must be openness and qualification for international club tournaments via national competitions. Football should not be a closed party for clubs that do not dare to participate in an open competition, so of course we are extra happy about this victory outside the pitch.”

ESPN has approached the Super League and EUIPO for comment.

The Superliga is Denmark’s top division in men’s football, consisting of 12 clubs. FC Midtjylland are currently top of the table with 45 points from 21 games, ahead of Brondby IF and FC Copenhagen.

The ESL and its promotors, A22 Sports, unveiled their latest proposals for the future of European football on December 21, 2023, after the European Court of Justice ruled that UEFA had been “abusing a dominant position” with its rules requiring new competitions to be subject to prior approval.

UEFA argued that it had already updated its rules ahead of the verdict, and believed they were now compliant with EU law.

The ESL’s plans consist of a three-tier, 64 club men’s competition, and a two-league, 32 club women’s competition, to replace the UEFA Champions League and Women’s Champions League.

The men’s competition would consist of two leagues — the ‘Star League’ and ‘Gold League’ — consisting of 16 clubs each, and a third ‘Blue League’ made up of 32 clubs, with promotion and relegation between them, and access to the Blue League based on domestic performance.

The ESL said games would be broadcast for fans free of charge, on a new streaming platform. A22 Sports released the results of a survey earlier this month, claiming that 72% of European football fans backed the project.