Businessman Gus Bodur and his wife Inez, have been forced to shell out more than £100,000 in legal fees since the FIFA Ballon d’Or – a globally recognised accolade given to the world’s best footballer – claimed the name of their sportswear shop was a trademark/copyright infringement.
The prize has been given annually since 2010 only. You know, the price that Lionel Messi wins every time, except this year when Frank Ribery won, although Messi was clearly the best player.
The couple have been selling their sportswear since 2001, when they obtained the trademark for Golden Balls. Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow was spotted out in Covent Garden in 2002 wearing one of their T-shirts as business boomed.
When Victoria Beckham revealed her nickname for her husband David was ‘Golden Balls’, they wrote to the Beckhams to check there were no legal issues, and had no problems.
But when they licensed the name to entertainment company Endemol to use for a game show hosted by TV comedian Jasper Carrott in 2007, they were contacted by organisers of the Ballon d’Or – French for ‘Ball of Gold’.
The Bodurs were forced to close their north-west London store in 2010, after the expense of the case – and the sleepless nights – became too much for the small business to cope with.
But they say they are delighted with the ruling from Europe’s highest court, which will allow them to trade again under their original name. “After the hearing, we were crying, laughing and jumping around.”, Inez Bodur said.
It’s a good thing the Bodur’s had the golden balls to fight this to the highest European court.
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