Relevance of trade marks in the sporting world

As you stand in line to enter the stadium, you may realize that many of the world’s most-famous playing grounds now bear the names and brands of their sponsors, as well as team names and logos. This kind of branding is aided by the International Trademark registering system  administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).



It’s early evening and you’re heading toward the gates with thousands of other sports fans to cheer on professional athletes competing at the highest level. Whether it’s Yankee Stadium in New York, Etihad in Manchester, Eden Garden in Kolkota or the site of any other major sporting event, throngs of ardent fans are decked out in the jerseys, caps and scarves of their club.

Before kick-off or the opening pitch, this type of team branding and merchandizing is just one example of how the global Intellectual Propoerty (IP) system supports athletics around the world. Sport creates communities of players and fans alike and it’s also a $300 billion-plus economic engine that provides jobs around the world.

Pic Courtesy- Business Insider

Trade Marks in Action for Jersey, Branded Grounds

As you stand in line to enter the stadium, you may realize that many of the world’s most-famous playing grounds now bear the names and brands of their sponsors, as well as team names and logos. This kind of branding is aided by the International Trademark registering system  administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO is a Geneva-based specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes innovation and creativity for the economic, social and cultural development of all countries, through a balanced and effective international IP system.

Brand owners seek to control their trademarks such as logos or jingles, which act as the cognitive touchpoints for their customers. In sports, as in all areas of business, trademark-protected material represents special qualities that attract fans, which in turn generates the income for companies to make investments in new talent or better infrastructure.

Brands are crucial for making business value, and therefore the sports business being no exception. Brands command client loyalty and premium costs, constituting valuable assets that drive company revenue and growth. they're central to several sports business transactions, particularly support deals and products commerce. And at the heart of branding lie trademarks.

Trade Marks

Trademarks are valuable assets, it build trust, confidence and loyalty in a product.

A trademark could be a badge of origin that permits a client to acknowledge a product of a selected company. reckoning on domestic law and practice, it can be, for instance, a word or name (like Wilson), a logo (such as Nike’s swoosh or Adidas' 3 stripes), a number, a color, a shape, or perhaps a sound or smell.

The outstanding show of trademarks at prestigious sporting events will increase sales by appealing to the aspirations and emotions of sports fans, United Nations agency square measure drawn to signs related to a given club or sport. trademarks can even become symbols of a selected lifestyle or behaviour. therefore support of a prestigious sports event, like the FIFA World Cup™ or the Olympic Games, will link a corporation or product to the status, youth and dynamism of that event.

Brand Advertising 

Brand advertising using sports groups and players is additionally business, and therefore the money health of the many sports organizations, clubs and even individual athletes will depend upon advertising and support revenue. The more in a team, the additional valuable its complete, and therefore the higher the financial gain and outlay power of the sports organization concerned. This successively enhances the diversion price of, say, a soccer match, as a result of the club will afford higher facilities and additional good players. in samples of the utilization of trademarks to plug and develop the business of sport embrace the NBA (National Basketball Association) within the U.S. and Manchester United soccer club within the UK.

Pic Courtesy- The drum

International Players & Trademarks

Every time a sports commentator invents a replacement cognomen for a star contestant, somebody can say, “That’s great! He ought to trademark that!” however you can’t simply “trademark” a word or phrase. you have got to register it for specific product or services that you just decide to sell. If you don’t sell them, you can’t get the trademark.

Take Tim Tebow. His management company applied to register half a dozen applications for the word “tebowing” for all kinds of merchandise. aside from clothing, however, none of them were registered because he didn’t truly sell them.

Bryce musician tried to register “That’s a clown question, bro” to be used on clothing. He paid to stay the appliance alive for 3 years, never selling anything. The trademark was never registered.

Then there’s Jeremy sculpturer. He applied for the trademark Linsanity for dozens of various products. That was in 2012. however he hasn’t started selling those merchandise with the Linsanity brand on them. thus he still doesn’t have a registered trademark.

Pat Riley’s company, however, has with success registered the trademark “Threepeat” for many products that the corporate truly sells.

Cristiano Ronaldo also successfully obtained a trademark for phrase "CR7" (his initials and shirt number) beneath that he runs a fashion botique. The stores include diamond-studded belts, jeans with animal skin pockets and proprietary buckled loafers.

The strange exception to the rule is Usain Bolt. He was able to register trademarks for his name and “lightning bolt” create while not selling any products first. He did this by linking them to foreign trademark registrations. as a result of Bolt could be a Jamaican, he receives some special privileges under trademark treaties.

Intellectual property (IP) rights also enable sports personalities, similarly as groups, sports organizations and sports sensible makers, to shield themselves against abusive and unauthorized use of their name for web site addresses. WIPO, among others, operates a fast dispute resolution procedure for web site domain names supported internationally-accepted rules.

Protecting trademarks internationally

Trademarks are protected by entry on a national trademark register. Once registered, they're potentially unlimited in time as long as they're used. WIPO’s international trademark registration system, referred to as the madrid System, permits trademark holders to file one application for registration in multiple countries, and to keep up and renew those marks through one procedure.

Pic Courtesy- Goal.com

Sports and IPR

Sport has become one of the major source of entertainment and simultaneously a big market of business too. Even though respective ways of playing the sports have not changed much in the last fifty years, but surely most of the things around the sports have changed. The sporting events are no more what they used to be. Intellectual Property Rights are valuable assets that are used as marketing tools towards the branding of sporting games and connected events, sports clubs, teams, celebrity status etc.

IPRs now a days vest in almost every aspect of the sports that we watch every day. We can take examples from teams to even individuals, we have innumerable examples of how teams and players have started making their own brands to taglines which are trademarked and used commercially to extract gains and benefits. The business quotient in sports is way past to what one could have imagined a few decades ago.

Teams like Manchester City, Real Madrid, Football Club Barcelona, Chelsea are few of the very famous teams which have created a huge market through its brands. Even individuals like Roger Federer and Tiger Woods are global brands. Merchandise of these teams and individuals create a one of its own kind of stir in the market.

According to a report, Manchester United and Real Madrid sold a touch over 1.5 million shirt replicas each which clearly show how big a market do these brands hold. And we are not even considering the other merchandise that these brands sell. To the amazement of many, these brands have a wide field from bags to watches to casual T-shirts. You just name it and they have that product to fulfill the needs of their fans.

Sports and IPR in India

Indian arena is also catching up with an enormous increase in the number of franchise based leagues that have come about in the last decade. Indian Premier League, Hockey India League, Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Super League, International Premier Tennis League are only a few to name in this country of leagues. This enormous change in the sporting culture of this country has widened the scope of sporting brands and hence that of IPR as well.

One can’t even imagine how big a scope of IPR is there in the sporting arena. One can take an example of a new kind of sporting gear and the several Intellectual Property rights associated with it. Firstly comes the patent right which protects the new technology from being reproduced. Then the design and look of the gear is protected.

Trademark protects the product from other similar products and the reputation that comes with the original name. At last copyright would protect any creative publicisation of the product.