The EU’s Intellectual Property Office has ruled that the European Super League (ESL) must change its name due to Denmark’s top-flight competition.

The ruling follows the ESL’s rejected attempt of registering the trademark at the EU’s Intellectual Property Office based in Alicante, Spain, which deemed the naming “conceptually identical” to the Super Liga in Denmark.

After the rejection, the European Super League Company challenged the decision, leading to an investigation that was carried out by the opposition division, which has been rejected.

The ruling said: “The opposition division concludes that it is clear from the evidence submitted that the earlier trade mark (Super Liga) has been subject to long-standing and intensive use and is generally known and has acquired a significant reputation in the relevant market in relation to the organisation of sports activities, including sporting events, all in relation to football, where it enjoys a consolidated position.”

Although the ruling can be appealed, it is unlikely that the decision will be changed.

In response to the ruling, the Danish league said: “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.”

The ESL concept emerged in 2021, with 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs proposing a 20-team elite tournament, in which 15 top clubs would be protected from relegation. Shortly after the public announcement, the 12 clubs were faced with protests from supporters opposing the competition.

Since then, leagues around the continent have put special measures in place to prevent the ESL from launching. The Premier League, for example, introduced new rules including an owners charter.

Most recently A22 Management, the organisation promoting the league, has revealed that up to 20 football clubs across the continent have confirmed interest in joining the ESL.

However, this trademark hurdle will give leagues time to breathe, further extending the time it is going to take the ESL to be in a position to legally and properly form.

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