IPR and Sports
The industry of sports has always been a prodigious sector
across the world bringing together entertainment, games, culture and pecuniary
business, right from the barbaric era through the glorious days of Caesar to
the twenty first century money making sports industry. Sporting games have
always been encouraged by chieftain, governments, private individuals and
entities interested not only in the games themselves but more in the financial
business quotient that sports entail. Sports which, for a very prolonged time,
was considered an activity which was recreational, has nowadays become a
thorough materialistic activity effectuating elephantine profits.
Earlier the sporting events were based on the competition
between different talents, but now money has procured a gigantic role in all
these events. Corporatization of sports has become gargantuan. Enormous
importance has been gained by different marketing aptitudes like franchising or
brand building of a sport or a player, overtaking other important components of
These distinct aptitudes like merchandising, franchising and
branding are the major contributors of revenues etc. which includes
exploitation of different intellectual property rights of sports clubs. With
gradual proliferation in the business angle of sports, dormant Intellectual
Property Rights (IPRs) vesting in almost every facet of the sports industry are
being tapped into and capitalized.
Branding of sporting games and connected events, teams,
sports clubs, celebrity status etc. can all be made feasible through the
constructive assets i.e. IPRs which act as a marketing tool to make all of it
Marketing dexterities are applied in fabrication,
perpetuation, popularization and sustenance of distinctive marks, logos and
personalities, while copyrights vesting in brand and image inception etc. are
protected to reap benefits on an exclusive basis considering the very nature of
competition in sports.
This article will highlight various components of Intellectual
Property that are devised in the undertaking of a club or a sports team.
Trademarks in sports are usually in the embodiment of
captions, logos or tag lines etc. They are a distinctive indicator or a sigil
representing a business or trade. The most commonly created IP in sports is
trademark. It acts as a catalyst for brand building in the sports business.
Popularity of a certain sport is measured by the public rating. This
measurement is further based on the trademark. It has become an ideogram of identification.
Sponsorships and merchandises are some the forms in which it helps in augmenting
the brand value. A franchise’s brand equity is ascertained by sponsorship
revenues and advertisement revenues which are in consociation with trademarks.
Thus, protection of trademarks is of utmost priority as to indemnify
commercial interests. Trademarks Act, 1999 protects the trademarks of sports
clubs and further provides protection to its proprietors. The act states that
any proprietor can apply for registration under miscellaneous classes of services
and goods in relation to which the trademarks are being maneuvered. Civil and
criminal remedies are made available in the cases of trademark infringement.
Another remedy available for the proprietor is under the anti-dilution law ( for
well-known or famous marks ).