The Premier League and UEFA made it clear that they are on top of John Terry’s controversial NFT tweets featuring their assets. Both organizations are now seeking legal advice to plot out their next move over the potential trademark violations.
Athletes and sports franchises were a force of nature in the tremendous growth of NFTs last year. Aside from basketball, football (soccer) led the charge thanks to the fantasy football game Sorare. No wonder the former captain of Chelsea and assistant coach at Aston Villa is getting into the mix. Terry has been actively promoting “Ape Kids Club” NFTs on Twitter.
The posts have caught the league’s attention because some include images of the club’s badge and trophies. The league’s trademark protects both assets. In effect, using it for commercial ventures requires a licensing agreement with the league.
John Terry’s Controversial Tweets Promoting Ape Kids Club
UEFA, which organizes the Europa League and Champions League, said: “UEFA takes the protection of its intellectual property rights seriously and we are investigating this matter further.” The Premier League Football Association echoed the sentiments of UEFA. They are also on high alert over the unauthorized use of the FA Cup trophy, the Community Shield, and the England kit on the NFTs.
The NFTs in question are from the Ape Kids Club NFT Collection, an offshoot of another popular NFT, the “Bored Ape Yacht Club.” The collection features 10,000 digital illustrations of cartoon apes. The “Ape Kids Club” features 9,999 different ape NFTs available for purchase.
— John Terry (@JohnTerry26) January 20, 2022
Terry is not alone in his fascination with the NFT Collection because other football starts have also jumped in. Former Chelsea teammate Ashley Cole also retweeted the promotional tweets. Other footballers who have endorsed them are Bobby Zamora, Jack Wilshere, and Nigel de Jong. Then, to top it all off, Chelsea and England full-back Reece James has tweeted about acquiring a “Mutant Ape” NFT.
So far, the Premier League and UEFA have not dropped the L-word, aka lawsuit. It looks like things are headed in that direction because they have already engaged the full might of their legal counsel. In addition, they asserted that they would impose their trademark, as is their right.
This situation just proved that the NFT industry still has some heavy lifting to do in order to sort out copyright, trademark, and IP regulations.
Meanwhile, The Tonight Show Host Jimmy Fallon is also in trouble after his NFT PR Stunt with Paris Hilton. Some pointed out that promoting his Bored Ape could create FOMO and raise the price. So if he opts to sell it in the secondary market, he could flip it for a huge profit. For some, this is a conflict of interest.