The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has halted an effort by soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s underwear manufacturer to cancel a Rhode Island man’s “CR7” trademark while a civil lawsuit unfolds in federal court. Danish clothing manufacturer JBS Textile Group petitioned the trademark office last May to cancel the trademark owned by Christopher Renzi, a 43-year-old fitness enthusiast. The company said it had “imminent” plans to enter the U.S. market with Ronaldo’s line of sleek underwear. Renzi followed up with a civil suit in Rhode Island federal court in July, seeking the court’s nod that the moniker is his.
The other side says he is trying to trade on Ronaldo’s fame, and there’s really nothing to that. I knew who Ronaldo was, and I didn’t think of CR7 as some kind of famous trademark.’
Renzi’s lawyer Michael Feldhuhn
Ronaldo, one of the most highly paid and recognisable athletes in the world, is known to fans by his initials and jersey number, CR7. In its cancellation request, JBS alleged Renzi registered the moniker in 2009 in order to profit off of Ronaldo’s soaring fame. Renzi said he adopted the mark based on his initials and the day he was born, Oct. 7, according to his complaint. The PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Thursday said it would grant Renzi’s request to suspend proceedings given the parallel action in district court.