Manchester United may have to pay Chelsea for the right to fully exploit Jose Mourinho’s name when he is confirmed as their manager later this week.
Chelsea still own the rights to Mourinho’s name and signature, having registered it as a trademark with the Intellectual Property Office in 2005, during his first spell at Stamford Bridge.
As well as being registered in the UK, “Jose Mourinho” is registered as a trademark of Chelsea FC on the European Union’s Intellectual Property Database.
It means Chelsea can use his name on a huge variety of products, from eau de cologne to cotton wool, magnets, leather goods and pyjamas.
In practice Chelsea, who declined to comment, have used it on club merchandise including mugs, posters, smartphone cases and miniature figurines.
The trademark issue is not considered a barrier to Mourinho’s deal, currently being negotiated by his agent Jorge Mendes and United’s senior executive Ed Woodward.
United may, however, have to pay a fee to Chelsea if it wants to exploit the name on its merchandise. Alternatively, it could seek not to use the name on products.
Chelsea retained the trademark during Mourinho’s spells at Internazionale and Real Madrid, but it is unclear whether they paid any fee to exploit the trademark.
The issue is among a number of image rights issues that lawyers for Mourinho and the club are working through as they finalise what is expected to be a three-year contract with a salary in excess of £10m a year.
Issues that have to be dealt with include conflicting commercial arrangements in certain sponsorship categories.
Mourinho is sponsored by Jaguar and was always pictured in one of their cars on arrival and departure at Chelsea. United, however, have a £380m, seven-year deal with General Motors.
Similarly, Mourinho has a watch deal with Hublot while United’s watch sponsor is Bulova.
Such clashes can be resolved by either party adjusting the value of their respective deals to reflect the fact Mourinho may not be involved in promotion.
Following talks between Mendes and Woodward, United may be in a position to formally announce Mourinho’s appointment on Thursday. It is unclear whether a news conference would then be held this week.
Mourinho may choose to hold a full media briefing, or it may be delayed until July, closer to when the players return to pre-season training.