U.S. man sues soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo over CR7 trademark

Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:50pm EDT
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By Andrew Chung

(Reuters) - Global soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is also known to fans by the shorthand CR7, prompting the company behind his line of sleek underwear to target a Rhode Island man who has trademarked the letter-number combination, according to a new lawsuit.

In a complaint filed Monday in Rhode Island federal court, 43-year-old fitness enthusiast Christopher Renzi said he had received letters from lawyers for the Danish company JBS Textile Group demanding he give up the trademark because it had “imminent plans” to enter the U.S. market with Ronaldo's CR7 underwear.

JBS has also asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Renzi's trademark, according to court documents. Renzi is seeking the court's declaration that he owns the trademark.

“We just want them to leave us alone,” said Renzi’s attorney Michael Feldhuhn.

Attorneys for JBS could not be reached for comment.

Renzi registered the moniker in 2009 and has put it on jeans and T-shirts, Feldhuhn said. He also has a website advertising a seven-minute fitness workout, also under the CR7 name.

According to the complaint, Renzi adopted the mark based on his initials and the day he was born, Oct. 7.

Court materials showed that JBS, which said it holds the “exclusive, worldwide license” to market Ronaldo’s CR7 underwear, believed Renzi trademarked CR7 specifically to profit from Ronaldo’s soaring fame.   Continued...

Portugal's soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo speaks with reporters during the launching ceremony of his CR7 by Cristiano Ronaldo underwear line at Madrid's city hall October 31, 2013.   REUTERS/Sergio Perez