The Place of Intellectual Property Rights in Sports.
The role of intellectual property is increasingly becoming most paramount among every professionals around of the world, from academics, music, to arts and to sports. None of us is left out.
Intellectual property rights protect the ideas, invention, design, and brand of its holder, creating an avenue for developments.
In the world of sport, various development has been made ranging from equipment advancement to accessory and even broadcasting advancement, which has resulted in a better sports game. You would agree with me that those who brought about these advancements should be allowed to enjoy privileged protection.
The components of Intellectual property- trademark, copyright, and patents are in their full weight applicable in the sphere of sport.
The evolution of sports activities can be attributed to the development of equipment used in these sports. Over the years, multiple inventions have been developed to ensure sporting excellence; ranging from footwear, the shape of balls, clubs, outfits, equipment, etc; these groundbreaking sports technologies are protected under the intellectual property (IP) system by patents.
A patent is a legal protection given to an inventor for his invention, it ensures that such an invention can not be exploited without the authorization of the owner of the patent (the inventor). This acts as an incentive for the investors as it provides them the chance to regain their investment, indirectly encouraging investment in research and development.
Trademark rights, on the other hand, are the foundation on which sports brands build their reputation and commercial value.
Trademark could be word, symbol, number, color, or a shape that distinguishes the goods and services of a particular manufacturer from another. it serves as a specific tool of identity used by producers to attract the public to their products; the right rising here is exclusive although, it can be licensed in exchange for payment.
There is no doubt that in sports business strong branding leads to increase prices, customer loyalty, revenue, and growth, as such trademarks are the powerful and indispensable marketing tool to be relied upon. In the world of sports, the strategic use of trademarks opens up significant commercial opportunities to generate income.
Sports celebrities can also register and leverage the brand of their names, nicknames, poses, and slogan. These celebrities also have image rights that prevent the unauthorized use of their name, slogan, or anything associated with them.
Although, sports activities are not copyrightable in itself, as copyright protects 'literary and artistic works'; it cannot be said to be an intentional creation of artwork rather any artwork that arises from any sports activity is deemed incidental.
The key factor in copyright is originality, which sports events lack hence can not be deemed as work under literary and artistic "domain".
Despite this, the audiovisual recording of such sports events can be protected in copyright, as long as it fulfills the minimum requirements of originality such as: a variety of camera angles, 3D animation, comment, graph, and other elements. The protection of audio-visual recording brings about the rights of broadcasting organizations (broadcasting right).
The copyright protection enjoyed here include the right to reproduce, distribute, rent, broadcast, communicate to the public. The protection granted broadcasting rights in sports has helped secure the economic value of sport, which stimulates the growth of the sports industry, as broadcasting organizations are not afraid to invest in the industry.