Manchester United versus China: A Counterfeiting and Trademark Match

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In increasingly competitive and globalized business environments, companies are aware of the necessity of expanding and operating their businesses in other world markets. Sports clubs have been entering into different world markets to increase their fan base and become international clubs. Entering into a foreign market has many merits but not without any problems. This paper reflects on some common problems that sports clubs are facing in operating their businesses in developing countries, using a single case study based on the authors’ interviews with the Manchester United Football Club’s trademark managers. Specifically, this article examines two major intellectual property problems that Manchester United (MU) Plc. has encountered in establishing its ‘Red Devils’ trademark licensing in China: trademark registrations and trademark counterfeiting. The causes of these problems are analysed and a number of possible solutions are suggested.

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Taylor & Francis

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Managing Leisure