The Chaaaampignons

Written by Saad Khan | February 15, 2022

IP Disputes

In the IP world, it is not common to see rightsholders backing down when it comes to trade mark infringement. However, UEFA, one of football’s largest governing bodies, decided they would stop pursuing a pizza restaurant in Germany over a branded pizza named ‘Champignons League’.

Pizza Wolke, based in the German town of Giessen, received a letter from one of UEFA’s local lawyers in December informing them that the ‘Champignons League’ pizza – which translates to ‘Mushrooms League’ – infringes UEFA’s trade mark ‘Champions League’.

The Champions League is UEFA’s premier club competition and involves the biggest European clubs every year. Add to this that Pizza Wolke have expanded their operations and specialise in the sale of frozen pizzas, it’s easy to see why UEFA acted quickly. Pizza Wolke didn’t sit back though and went on the offensive, sharing the UEFA letter on Instagram which led to publicity and support.

UEFA then issued a statement stating that they take the protection of their IP seriously and this was simply a case of an “over-zealous local trade mark agent acting too hastily.” They added that “The UEFA Champions League can happily live alongside the delicious-sounding pizza.”


UEFA backing down from this may well be down to an over-zealous local trade mark agent acting hastily, but it is a common response from many large sporting organisations. For example, Arsenal Football Club sued a vendor, Matthew Reed, for selling souvenirs bearing Arsenal’s registered trade mark – a case which went all the way to the European Court of Justice.

On the one hand IP rightsholders need to maintain their brand reputation, as such, they will be quick to stop infringers. In this case Champignons League looks and sounds similar to Champions League and one may assume they are associated. But on the other hand, mushrooms and champions are clearly two different things and UEFA realised this mistake along with the bad press they might have received.

Had Pizza Wolke used the Champions League stars logo on their pizza, then it would appear they are riding on the coattails of UEFA’s reputation to boost sales of their pizzas. In any case, Pizza Wolke and UEFA seem to have settled this over a delicious slice of mushroom pizza.

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