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Conor McGregor Returns to Combat in the Intellectual Property Arena

Posted in IP, IP Law Blog Lawyers In The News

Conor McGregor doesn’t back down to anyone. He knocked out the once unbeatable Jose Aldo in 13 seconds. He was the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold titles in two different weight divisions. He crossed over to boxing to fight the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd “Money” Mayweather. You get the point: Conor McGregor takes on all competitors—anywhere, anytime.

Although McGregor’s fights usually occur inside the octagon, or most recently, the boxing ring, McGregor will now be forced to take on new opponents in a new arena: the intellectual property arena. Specifically, as a result of McGregor’s attempt to register the mark THE CHAMP CHAMP through a European Union trademark application, McGregor will have to take on sporting apparel giant, Champion, which has filed an opposition to McGregor’s application. The opposition covers McGregor’s word marks and his design marks.

Although I am not familiar with this process as it relates to European Union registrations, my research indicates that the process can last approximately one year, which is not all that different from opposition proceedings in the United States. In the interim, McGregor may choose to forego use of the mark in commerce as it could open him up to damages for trademark infringement if Champion succeeds in its opposition proceedings. However, if McGregor’s actions outside of the business and intellectual property arenas are any indication of his actions inside those arenas, he may choose to move forward with use of the mark in commerce, in the absence of a preliminary injunction, just assuming he will prevail in the opposition proceeding.

In addition to this dispute with Champion, McGregor is also entangled in opposition proceedings relating to applications to register MYSTIC MAC and I AM BOXING. The MYSTIC MAC mark was opposed by cosmetic giant, Make Up Cosmetics, commonly known as MAC, as well as Mac Jeans. I AM BOXING was opposed by Switzerland’s largest retail company Migros. Although the merit of these oppositions remain in dispute, one thing is clear: McGregor’s presence in the business world is just as polarizing as his presence in the sports and entertainment world.