Trademark case upsets FIFA World Cup sponsors

Sponsors of this year’s football World Cup may seek compensation from FIFA after it lost a trademark protection case in Germany.

It is thought that some sponsors want at least part of their money back after the court ruled that football’s governing body could not claim exclusive rights to the slogans “WM 2006” (which translates as World Cup 2006), WM Deutschland (World Cup Germany) and Fussball WM Deutschland (Football World Cup Germany). The ruling, which was sought by confectioner Ferrero, means that other companies can now use the phrase as well.

FIFA had registered the phrases as trademarks to prevent them being used by companies that were not official sponsors. But it was ruled that Ferrero was allowed to use the slogan “Our Germany 2006 team” in its sticker collections for the World Cup.

FIFA grants its sponsors exclusive rights, but the ruling heavily devalues those – especially the six top-line domestic sponsors – which paid â¬13m (&£9m) for the privilege. It is understood that some sponsors are considering demanding a 20% reduction in their fees to compensate for the loss of exclusivity.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here