PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Rhode Island man is trying to sue international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo in a dispute over an underwear line, but he can’t get to him.
Christopher Renzi sued the Real Madrid forward and a Danish underwear maker in July after being told of their plan to use the phrase “CR7” to sell underwear in the United States. Ronaldo is known as CR7, a combination of his initials and his jersey number for Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team, and he sells CR7 underwear and other clothing in Europe. Renzi, however, owns the trademark in the United States.
Renzi had until the end of November to notify Ronaldo of the lawsuit, but his lawyer said this week they haven’t been able to track down one of the world’s most famous athletes.
In the meantime, lawyer Michael Feldhuhn said he’s keeping an eye out for CR7 underwear being sold in the U.S.
Feldhuhn said a Spanish justice official went to the headquarters of Real Madrid in Spain and tried to deliver the legal papers there, but the official said in a filing that a receptionist refused to accept them because the lawsuit doesn’t involve the team. Feldhuhn said they are now trying to serve the papers at an address where they believe Ronaldo lives.
The judge overseeing the case has given Renzi until March 26 to find Ronaldo and serve him with the papers.
Feldhuhn said his client sued only after JBS Textile Group asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel his trademark, saying it had “imminent plans to enter the U.S. market” and sell clothing with the CR7 and CR7 Cristiano Ronaldo marks.
Renzi scored a small victory last week when the Patent and Trademark Office suspended JBS Textile’s petition, citing the Rhode Island lawsuit.
Renzi applied for the trademark in 2008, and it was granted in 2009. The lawyer says that he has used it on clothing and for an exercise video and that it stands for his initials and the day he was born, Oct. 7.
Lawyers for JBS did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Tuesday.
A person who answered the phone at Real Madrid’s headquarters on Tuesday said the office was closed and no one was available to speak until Wednesday. Emails sent to team representatives were not immediately returned.