JOSE Mourinho is finalising a move to Manchester United but an unlikely potential sticking point has emerged over the trademark of his name.
The Portuguese’s full name was registered with the Intellectual Property Office by Chelsea on both occasions he managed at Stamford Bridge – and United’s Premier League rivals still hold those rights.
Quickly understanding Mourinho’s power in English football, Chelsea first filed for it in March 2005 in response to his explosive first season, and then immediately after he replaced Rafa Benitez three years ago.
The latest trademark does not need renewing until 2023 and United’s lawyers are understood to be working through annulling the agreement. Chelsea also trademarked his signature in 2006, but that ran out in January this year – less than a month after his sacking.
There is an expectation that this will not impact on Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford on a three-year deal worth up to £45million. There remains a confidence of officially announcing the 53-year-old’s arrival sooner rather than later.
Senior figures at United had hoped to release news of their new manager on Wednesday, but always felt it would come later in the week.
Chelsea’s deal with Mourinho dictates they can use his name on a number of products throughout the world to promote their brand.
Mourinho is still their most iconic manager and he has been used heavily to market the club. Chelsea also still hold the rights to ‘Ancelotti’ – a link to new Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The former Real Madrid boss can be on anything from domestic utensils and champagne flutes, to shinpads and footballs.
There are thought to be around 37 different items on which Chelsea can use his name, including teddy bears and balloons.
Mourinho’s imminent arrival at United has been an open secret for months but executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward – renowned for capitalising commercially – could be restricted on what the new man can be used on.
There are also ongoing discussions about Mourinho’s image rights.
Lawyers are ironing out any potential issues between United’s shirt sponsors Chevrolet and Mourinho’s association with Jaguar, although those conflicts are common and are understood to be slowing the process and not stalling it.