Arsenal legend’s ‘Invincible’ cash grab: How one of their former stars grabbed the trademark of their greatest ever season right under the club’s noses


This is a random decision at the end of 2022 that prevents development at the top of Arsenal. The Gunners have made a strong start to the Premier League as they seek to win the league title for the first time since Invincibles in 2004.

However, former goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who was a regular in the record-breaking side that went unbeaten in the league all season, is contacting the club to tell them he had already secured the Invincibles title 20 years ago Brand rights.

The label attached to one of the most important achievements in Arsenal’s 137-year history no longer belongs to them.

The club was shocked. They had never thought of obtaining the trademark before and had no idea anyone was doing it.

Especially since this feat was more than 18 years ago. Lehmann began the process at the end of 2020, gaining approval two years later and spending up to £30,000 on it. This means the German has the legal right to prevent any other brand from naming itself “Invincible” – including his former employer.

Lehmann was approached by three different production companies about an Invincible documentary

Jens Lehmann acquires brand rights to Invincibles ahead of 20th anniversary

Lehmann can prevent any other brand from naming themselves

Lehmann can prevent any other brand from naming themselves “Invincibles” – including his former employer (pictured: Arsenal’s Invincibles in the 2003-04 season)

Arsenal went unbeaten in the 2003-04 Premier League season, the only team in the league to do so

Arsenal went unbeaten in the 2003-04 Premier League season, the only team in the league to do so

“I came up with the idea because as we approached the 20th anniversary, the name Invincibles was becoming more and more popular,” he told the Daily Mail. “No one owns it, so I’m looking into it. I’m ready to acquire the brand rights for our group, so everyone who uses it is infringing on our brand.

“Sometimes people from Europe, Africa or Asia are using it. They could have done it without permission and called themselves ‘invincible anyway’. They can’t do this anymore.

“They (the club) are probably a little surprised that no one has considered registering the brand name. At least they know it’s under control now.

It is understood that Arsenal has not yet lodged an objection to the trademark. If they do, things get complicated.

Sam O’Toole, senior associate solicitor at Briffa Legal, said: “I can imagine that when the club was known by that name they would have wished they had considered trademarking the name.

“If the club is successful, it won’t be a problem at all because it already owns the trademark because the achievement, the actual trademark registration, will be owned by the club.”

“If they tried to cancel the player’s trademark, they would probably be in for a lengthy dispute.”

Now that the 54-year-old has secured the trademark rights, his plans are ambitious, to say the least. Since September, he has been approached by three production companies about making an Invincible documentary this summer.

No one at Arsenal thought of trademarking the name and the club took no action to stop Lehmann

Lehmann claims the entire squad - including Arsene Wenger - gave him the go-ahead to set up a company this summer

Lehmann claims the entire squad – including Arsene Wenger – gave him the go-ahead to set up a company this summer

Lehmann said he, his former teammates and the coaching staff are currently in discussions with them.

Meanwhile, he is preparing to set up a company by this summer and claims the entire squad is on board, including former coach Arsene Wenger.

It is understood overseas tours, games against the 2004 Manchester United team or a team made up of former players from across the league and Invincibles memorabilia are on the group’s radar.

He said: “We have 28 players and 12 staff, including the owner (Wenger). The company has not been set up yet because we are preparing.

“Soon there will be one or two events here and we will give back to the people. Everyone will become a shareholder in the company.

“It’s easier to bring all members of our team into one company because you have the costs that you create and you’re not spreading them among 30 people.

“If we have an income we will do something for the charity (Arsenal-related).”

Looking at the 2004 team, the power of personality is evident. The steely Martin Keown, world-class boxer Thierry Henry and the muscular Patrick Vieira are just three of them.

The 2004 championship-winning team had a variety of characters in the locker room

The 2004 championship-winning team had a variety of characters in the locker room

The burly talismanic leader Patrick Vieira is the leader of the Invincibles

The burly talismanic leader Patrick Vieira is the leader of the Invincibles

When they found out about the trademark situation, you might imagine their reaction was that of a fly on the wall. But Lyman says the opposite is true.

The former goalkeeper says most of his former team-mates are

The former goalkeeper says most of his former team-mates are “really grateful”

“I think most players really appreciate that,” he said. “We’re going to come together as a team and do something together. Hopefully we’ll have fun. We’ll be together again in 20 years.

“So far they don’t want to (get a trademark) because it would require a lot of work. So far it’s just production costs! £20,000 to £30,000 (in the past two years) for registration, fees etc.

Arsenal are very proud of their title of “Invincible” and use the name in various ways to showcase their achievements. Indeed. Many players on the team are still closely associated with the club.

For example, Edu is the sporting director and Gilberto Silva is the club ambassador. Which begs the question: the club store sells Invincibles merchandise. Are they allowed to do this?

“I know that,” he explained. The lady in the store said it sold like gold dust!

“It’s something we haven’t discussed yet. I won’t make the decision myself. We have to discuss everything, talk to the club. Then the club might come up with some other good ideas.

“If the shareholders say we have to do something, yes, we probably have to do something. But if the shareholders say, ‘Well, let the club do what they want to do, they will create some other attractive opportunities for us. …”You know, like I said, everyone (and the club) will be happy.

“We can host an event at Emirates. So the club is very important.

Former Invincibles Edu (left) is the club's current sporting director and one of many Invincibles players still involved with the Gunners

Former Invincibles Edu (left) is the club’s current sporting director and one of many Invincibles players still involved with the Gunners

Arsenal are battling Manchester City for a first Premier League title since 2003-04

Arsenal are battling Manchester City for a first Premier League title since 2003-04

Arsenal’s 20th anniversary comes two weeks later as they chase Manchester City in the league. It’s their only chance of trophies this season, having been knocked out by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last month.

If the Gunners fail to win the title this year, the number of years until the invincible feat will continue to grow.

“Of course, as time goes by and no one remains undefeated, the achievements become greater and greater,” he added.

“But obviously I hope the current team can win the title this year because it would be great for the club. It’s a good thing for the brand and a good thing for us.



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