Cristiano Ronaldo is facing legal action after a company representing the Real Madrid star asked a man using the "CR7" trademark in the United States to give up the moniker.
Danish company JBS Textile Group have written to Christopher Renzi asking him to give up the trademark due to their "imminent plans" to enter the U.S. market with Ronaldo's new "CR7" underwear range. JBS has also asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Renzi's trademark.
But Renzi, who registed the "CR7" trademark in 2009, has filed a lawsuit against Ronaldo in order to prove that he owns the licence to the term in the U.S.
Renzi's attorney Michael Feldhuhn told Reuters: "We just want them to leave us alone."
Fitness enthusiast Renzi uses "CR7" due to his initials and the date he was born, Oct. 7. His website advertises a seven-minute workout regime and he also used it on items of clothing.
The JBS lawsuit, which claims to hold "exclusive, worldwide licence" to market the "CR7" underwear, believes Renzi trademarked the moniker specifically to profit from Ronaldo's fame.
It says "CR7" was "so closely tied to the fame and reputation of Cristiano Ronaldo, that a connection with the soccer player would immediately be presumed by the general public when encountering" Renzi's branded clothes, said JBS's filing with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo has developed the moniker as part of his brand which includes over 28 million followers on Twitter and 93 million likes on Facebook.
Although Ronaldo is the more recognisable user of "CR7", Feldhuhn insists Renzi "can show we were the first use of the "CR7" name in commerce in America."
He added, "They don't really have the trademark rights because they haven't used it."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.