Sports and Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property (IP) rights (patents, business designs, emblems, copyright, and so on) are generally related to the industry, generally the manufacturing industry. IP rights provide exclusivity to the IP owner for a restricted time period. But organizers of sports activities are using IP laws to take advantage of the hobby, specifically sports activities.

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Sports started as an interest or a pastime occasion to enable individuals to experience sports activities or as a form of bodily exercise. Now sure, video games have evolved into massive worldwide events, or more accurately, international corporations with their own “tailor-made” regulation. Such global events even mission sovereign legal guidelines of nations.

Popular video games, including football, golfing, tennis, basketball, cricket, yachting, car racing, and so on, have advanced into worldwide events with a huge following, developing giant advertising and marketing potential for the organizers. The organizers of famous video games, together with FIFA (soccer), PGA (golfing), NBA (basketball), and so forth, prepare and manage the occasions, typically global competitions in this type of way to extract the most value from others who want to make the most the advertising and marketing capacity the occasions offer.

The organizers initially create an extraordinary logo, brand, or word(s) to identify the occasion. If the emblems or trademarks are authentic, they would also be included as copyrighted works.

For instance, the 2010 FIFA World Cup brand is covered as an indicator and as a creative painting beneath copyright laws. Terms which include “2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa”, “2010 FIFA World Cup”, “2010 World Cup”, “Football World Cup” and comparable derivations thereof are also protected towards unauthorized use and situation to applicable laws in the various jurisdictions.

Let us take a look at various streams of sales to the organizers. The first line of sales is sponsorship costs. This includes the right to show the sponsor’s trademark within the video games venue/stadium, the proper to use the event identifiers on articles manufactured by the sponsors, or the right to apply the event identifier in association with a carrier (e.G. Banking, credit card (VISA), enterprise procedure outsourcing (Mahindra Satyam)), or placement rights (e.G., a positive luxury watch brand adjacent to tee containers in golf courses).

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The 1/3 source of revenue is an exceptional supply of merchandise for the games, together with footballs, tennis balls, shuttlecocks (badminton), fuel and lubricants (automobile racing), etc. The articles provider has the right to describe themselves as the “legit supplier” to sell their articles and market them themselves because of the distinct provider of such articles. Ironically, although Adidas turned into a top-tier sponsor/partner inside the FIFA World Cup 2010, it turned into Nike that attracted more visitors’ interest, whether via the players’ football boots or clever marketing spots. Is this a case of negative sponsorship method by way of Adidas?

Apart from the occasion organizers, different manufacturers and service providers take advantage of sponsoring the sports attire and games device of precise teams or gamers. Just recollect the brand of the participant’s T-shirt, shorts, cap, gloves, shoes, socks, and so forth. In South Africa, footwear of a non-sponsor emblem worn by gamers stood out just as prominently (if no longer more so) than those of one of the official sponsors. In the case of race automobile drivers, have you ever visible undeniable drivers’ overalls? On the contrary, the driver’s standard, inclusive of the crash helmet, is often plastered with an assortment of emblems.

Even the refreshments/drinks eaten up by the participant for the sport are back, with full commercial price taken advantage of. Here the advertisement of the trademark isn’t an advertisement for the product, like what seems in a TV commercial; however, the trademark or product is inherently related to a hit play. What further convincing message may be produced, if no longer for a global-class participant, using the advertiser’s product?

Apart from the organizer’s incomes revenues as aforesaid, gamers, especially the pinnacle gamers in the video games, often advise sports activities-related and even non-wearing products or services or companies. For instance, Tiger Woods no longer handiest endorses golf equipment, balls, T-shirts, caps, and so forth but also endorses watches, consulting services, and personal hygiene products (Note: He turned into later suspended/dropped from the latter two following his transgressions); Maria Sharapova, one of the pinnacle ladies tennis players, endorses footwear and apparel, cameras, and watches, among others; and soccer participant Ronaldinho has endorsement contracts with Pepsi, Nike, and Sony.

To derive the most profit from the sales streams, organizers of massive game occasions like FIFA ought to strictly enforce their trademark rights and act in opposition to people who companion themselves with their trademark without the organizer’s consent. Unless the organizers take strict movement against infringers, they could not likely command high sponsorship rates for future occasions, no longer to say feasible breach of the sponsorship contract.

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Unfortunately, IP laws were no longer designed for such periodic worldwide activities. Many manufacturers or provider carriers would love to be associated with such outstanding international occasions that draw TV audiences within the billions. Still, they no longer have the possibility or can’t have enough money for the costs and expenses. So they are trying to accomplice their product/provider to the occasion without the consent of the event organizer. This is where “ambush marketing” comes into play.

Event organizers have a subject day taking movement towards such marketers. But whether or not a particular event or advertisement quantities to ambush marketing isn’t always clean below traditional IP legal guidelines. To avoid this, international locations, particularly host countries, are often required to enact particular laws to deal with ambush advertising and marketing before they are given the possibility to host the event. Britain needed to enact the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 earlier than the 2012 Olympics in London. The trademark “London 2012” is covered.

About author

Social media fan. Unapologetic food specialist. Introvert. Music enthusiast. Freelance bacon advocate. Devoted zombie scholar. Alcohol trailblazer. Organizer. Spent 2001-2004 merchandising ice cream in Mexico. My current pet project is getting to know walnuts for fun and profit. At the moment I'm writing about squirt guns in Salisbury, MD. Spent childhood donating toy planes in Suffolk, NY. Gifted in managing jack-in-the-boxes in Miami, FL. Spent high school summers supervising the production of foreign currency in Libya.
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