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Florence Kennedy Rolland, Lead Tutor

Faculty Blog

A fascinating twist on appointing Jose Mourinho as Manchester United’s new manager has arisen. Apparently Chelsea still own the rights to Mourinho’s name in conjunction with any commercial products. How does this hold up negotiations? Club merchandise is a huge business, and unless United can secure the use of their newly appointed manager’s name on their products, it could affect his appeal.

The problem lies with Mourinho not owing his own name. It is quite unusual for this to happen. Chelsea own it as a registered trademark to use on all their merchandise, and even though they may no longer use his name on merchandise (he hasn’t worked there since 2015), they can prevent any other clubs benefiting from it.

According to the BBC website, Mourinho cannot override the trademark, so the options are:

  • United do not use Mourinho's name against the exhaustive list of items that Chelsea have registered – from umbrellas to watch straps, lingerie and talcum powders.
  • United pay Chelsea for a license so they can use Mourinho's name on club merchandise.
  • United ask Mourinho to buy the trademark back.
  • United challenge the trademark if they think they can prove it has not been used by Chelsea.

I doubt we will ever be privy to the exact details of the deal, but I’m sure they will come to an arrangement sooner rather than later. Manchester United don’t want to miss out on Mourinho, or his trademark on their merchandise.