Legal question about using football team names (not logos) on commercial products.

I know a few of you out there are solicitors or have some legal knowledge and I have a quick question for you.

I'm part of a team producing a mobile game that allows players to pick a team they follow. Ideally those teams would be real-world ones instead of made up ones.

1) While I know logos can't be used, is it also illegal to use even the names of teams without permission?
2) What if it's the player that types the name into the game (like picking a username) instead of picking from a list that the game suggested?
3) What about names that are similar with one word changed? (I've seen this in the past being used)

Any advice on this would be great thanks.
 


Dogbark

Striker
I know a few of you out there are solicitors or have some legal knowledge and I have a quick question for you.

I'm part of a team producing a mobile game that allows players to pick a team they follow. Ideally those teams would be real-world ones instead of made up ones.

1) While I know logos can't be used, is it also illegal to use even the names of teams without permission?
2) What if it's the player that types the name into the game (like picking a username) instead of picking from a list that the game suggested?
3) What about names that are similar with one word changed? (I've seen this in the past being used)

Any advice on this would be great thanks.
I'm not a solicitor.

1) The team names will probably be trademarked.
2) Sounds unlikely that there'd be a problem with that.
3) Gandolf 😄

Got a link to yer game?
 

fyl2u

Striker
I know a few of you out there are solicitors or have some legal knowledge and I have a quick question for you.

I'm part of a team producing a mobile game that allows players to pick a team they follow. Ideally those teams would be real-world ones instead of made up ones.

1) While I know logos can't be used, is it also illegal to use even the names of teams without permission?
2) What if it's the player that types the name into the game (like picking a username) instead of picking from a list that the game suggested?
3) What about names that are similar with one word changed? (I've seen this in the past being used)

Any advice on this would be great thanks.
Professional football club names are trademarks of the club in question.

You need the rights to use them, which you can organise through the FA iirc for most teams (by paying a fee), although some of the bigger teams and some foreign teams organise their own rights for this sort of thing.

It can be expensive and won't be a certainty they'd even agree to it. It's why even big games like the Pro Evo Soccer franchise historically have had to include teams like "North London Reds" or "West London Blues" and why FM21 has a top Italian team called Zebre and no sign of Juventus.

Usernames chosen by players should be OK, although you should probably have it in your terms and conditions that this sort of thing is the responsibility of the player and that if anyone sues because of it you'll be handing their details over. Your solicitor that you use to handle your T&C's should sort this out and word it properly though.

"Names that are similar" depends on how similar and what other similarities there are. They should probably be considered on a case by case basis. You're probably safer taking the Pro Evo / FM21 route of renaming them in a way that people know who you're talking about but the names are nothing like the real ones, like Wearside Red And Whites, Teesside Reds, Merseyside Reds, etc.
 
You're probably safer taking the Pro Evo / FM21 route of renaming them in a way that people know who you're talking about but the names are nothing like the real ones, like Wearside Red And Whites, Teesside Reds, Merseyside Reds, etc.
It's not as fun though.

Moonderland
Liverpond
Evergram
 

bobster999

Central Defender
wasn't there an edition of FIFA or PES a few years ago which had team names that resembled who they were meant to be because they didn't have the rights to use hte proper names
 

Pnematic

Full Back
This got me thinking what clubs names would be if the marketing gurus got hold of them. ( non sponsored of course)

Sunderland Black Cats
Carlisle Borderers
Newcastle Magpies ( apologies)
Hartlepool Monkey Hangers
Darlington Quakers
Middlesbrough Smoggys

It’s all nonsense of course and a bit , well , basketball.
 

Dogbark

Striker
This got me thinking what clubs names would be if the marketing gurus got hold of them. ( non sponsored of course)

Sunderland Black Cats
Carlisle Borderers
Newcastle Magpies ( apologies)
Hartlepool Monkey Hangers
Darlington Quakers
Middlesbrough Smoggys

It’s all nonsense of course and a bit , well , basketball.
Poocastle.
 

fyl2u

Striker
This got me thinking what clubs names would be if the marketing gurus got hold of them. ( non sponsored of course)

Sunderland Black Cats
Carlisle Borderers
Newcastle Magpies ( apologies)
Hartlepool Monkey Hangers
Darlington Quakers
Middlesbrough Smoggys

It’s all nonsense of course and a bit , well , basketball.
Probably.

You wouldn't get away with these in the context of the OP though.

A lot of clubs have their nicknames trademarked as well as their real names.
 
Probably.

You wouldn't get away with these in the context of the OP though.

A lot of clubs have their nicknames trademarked as well as their real names.
I think "type your own name in" might work? Does that remove me from liability? Some MMOs exclude certain usernames of trademarks, so I'm not sure?
 

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