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  • World IP Day – IP & Sport

    When people think of Intellectual Property (IP), which hopefully people are on World IP Day, the mind tends to be drawn to some of the world’s biggest brands such as Apple, Google and Facebook. Something that does not immediately spring to mind is the world of sport. However, sport is rich in IP, with almost everything connected with the world’s biggest sporting brands and names having valuable IP attached to it.

    Take any of the world’s biggest football teams (soccer, not gridiron – although the same applies) and the amount of IP that runs through those organisations, both their own and that of businesses connected with the world of sport (broadcasting companies, kit manufacturers, etc.) is vast. That IP will either have value due to the brand recognition associated with it, or the revenue that can be generated from it, or even in the competitive advantage that can be derived from it.

    As a top level view, the various IP rights and examples of where they may exist in the world of sports are:

    • Trade Marks – the branding of a sports team or sports personality such as the club name or club crest, or a logo like Usain Bolt’s ‘Lightning Bolt’;
    • Design Rights – the design of a team’s kit, or the design of a specific manufacturer’s footwear;
    • Copyright – the live broadcasting stream or recorded footage of sporting events. This has been subject to several court cases in recent years;
    • Patents and Confidential Information – specific training or recovery techniques may involve equipment that is patentable, or may be subject to confidentiality;
    • Image Rights – the likeness or personality of sports stars for a wide range of multimedia applications;
    • Plant Varieties (no, seriously) – specific turf for sports such as golf that may make greens play a specific way.

    There’s clearly a lot to be thinking about here, and we are more than happy to talk this through with anyone who has any questions.