Sports and IPR

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Author : manishranjan
Published on : May 26, 2016

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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. Worldwide, money has acquired an enormous role in all sporting events. Commercialization of sports has become enormous. Marketing through franchising, as well as brand building of the sports, sportsmen and the event has gained gigantic importance, surpassing all other major aspects of a game.

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 United, 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.

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.