Soccer whisperer Jose Mourinho is all but set to join the iconic club Manchester United as manager. But the deal’s impending completion includes a very strange business wrinkle, according to multiple reports.
Mourinho doesn’t even own the rights to his own name. That’s right — Mourinho former employer, Chelsea FC, owns “Jose Mourinho,” which complicates United’s quest to sign Jose Mourinho.
Both the BBC and The Independent report the rights to Mourinho’s name are among the final hurdles in a deal that’s otherwise nearly complete to bring him to Manchester United. Mourinho — as arrogant as he is brilliant — is considered by many to be the best manager is soccer right now.
Indeed, a search of the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office database turns up a trademark for “Jose Mourinho” filed by Chelsea by March 31, 2005. Allowing Chelsea to sell goods featuring his name, it expires March 31, 2025. Mourinho’s signature is also trademarked by Chelsea.
Veteran sports lawyer Carol Couse told the BBC such an arrangement between club and manger is “really unusual,” although Mourinho has also managed two other big clubs since Chelsea trademarked his name.
“He has managed Inter and Real since then,” Crouse told the BBC. “They have either acquired the rights from Chelsea or managed the use of his name. If Chelsea didn’t grant a license, every time United used Jose Mourinho’s name in a commercial capacity against those products, Chelsea could sue Manchester United. I would suspect United would rather just pay a license fee.”
That’s not the only business oddity surrounding Mourinho-to-United, though. He’s also a high profile endorser of Jaguar cars; United’s jersey features the Chevrolet logo splashed across the chest.
In any case, all accounts say United is expected to complete the deal for Mourinho soon. Then the real fun begins.
Or maybe Mourinho should just change his name. Perhaps, for example, United will sign a new manager named “Mose Jourinho” soon.