Significance of Intellectual Property Rights in Sports

Ishaan Michael

In recent decades sporting events have become one of the key sources of entertainment, as well as a wide business sector. There have been little change in the way sports are practiced in the last fifty years , the majority of the sports have certainly changed. Sporting events are not what they were any more. Money has acquired a significant proportion of the world’s sports.

Intellectual Property Rights are valuable assets used as promotional vehicles for the promotion of sports games and related activities, sports clubs, players, celebrity status, etc. Intellectual Property Rights now a days vest in almost every aspect of the sports that we witness day after day. Instances of how teams and players begin to build their own labels with commercially marketable and profitable marks can be taken from teams to persons. The allocation of the sporting world is far from what people expected a couple of decades ago.Teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona Football Club and Chelsea are well-established teams that have built a massive global brand.In the Indian context , there has also been an tremendous spike in franchise-based leagues over the last decade. Indian Premier League, Hockey India League, Pro Kabaddi League, India’s Super League, International Premier Tennis League are a few of them to name.

The immense change in sports culture in this country widened the scope of intellectual property rights and the sporting brands. Sports has become a worldwide industry worth several billion dollars — one that builds infrastructure investment, employs millions of people all over the world, and provides much more entertainment. We look at the use of patents and concepts by sport companies to promote the creation, production, education and facility of innovative sports technology to enhance athletic performance and encourage fans around the world.Sport marketing is so widespread that sports clubs or associations are not only competing for competition but also making massive profits. Many sports clubs use intellectual property and are active in different companies such as merchandising, computer games, cafes, etc. The security of different IP species will take different forms such as licenses, agreements, etc. Merchandising has recently become one of the most profitable industries with a greater interest in sports clubs.It is important for stakeholders not only to have expertise in the market but also to understand the legal aspects surrounding it when entering into merchandising. There are a number of minor but significant merchandising problems, including IP ownership, income sharing, confidentiality and so on. Today people are highly dedicated and diligent to protect their image and personal rights, despite the various violations of personal rights worldwide.Since the majority of the current sport marketing models focus mainly on the intellectual property resources of sport clubs, these intellectual properties should be promoted through activities such as routine intellectual property audits and evaluation, adequate protection, and retaining of the portfolio of intellectual property. These investments are bound to return on a multiple basis if they are made with the right strategies.

India requires sport law experts to help stakeholders invest in the registration, licensing, and contracting of sports and entertainment interests as well as the proper protection of intellectual property against violation and abuse. In order to protect all stakeholders and their financial interests, it is proposed to implement valid contractual arrangements to protect all forms of intellectual property generated by sporting activity, teams, players, etc.  India should develop a sports business model that could create an effective Intellectual Property law that would deal with the use of patents, marks, intermittent designs. Free access to television sporting events is an attractive solution in order to maintain a balance between intellectual property rights and the public interest. There are also suggestions for alternative conflict resolution strategies for the protection of sport conflict rights. As a developing country , India needs to implement a law to protect information sensitive, especially in the sport sector , in order to serve as an effective dissuasive to prospective offenders with a serious aim of attracting and retaining investment. Intellectual property security and compliance in sporting is a key element to ensure that sporting events continue to be a potential source of financial resources.

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