Sport and Intellectual Property
Innovation and creativity are key drivers in the world of sport. In every sporting field, teams of inventors and creators are working behind the scenes to push the boundaries of possibility, creating new opportunities for athletes to better their performance and for broader participation in and enjoyment of sport.
Sport shows intellectual property (IP) in action. Patents encourage technological advances that result in better sporting equipment and other sport-related innovations. Trademarks, brands and designs contribute to the distinct identity of sports events, teams, players and their gear. Copyright-related rights generate the revenues needed for broadcasters to invest in the costly organizational and technical undertaking of broadcasting sports events to millions of fans all over the world. IP rights are the basis of licensing and merchandising agreements that earn revenues to support development of the sports industry.
A sports shoe may be protected by several IP rights
- Patents - protect the technology used to develop the shoe
- Designs - protect the “look” of the shoe
- Trademarks - distinguish the shoe from similar products and protect the “reputation” of the shoe (and the company making it)
- Copyright - protect any artwork and audiovisual creations used to publicize the shoe
IP powers the business of sport
IP lies at the heart of the huge commercial opportunities offered by the world of sport. IP rights (especially patents, trademarks and broadcasting rights) - and the legal protection they give – help to secure the economic value of sport. This in turn stimulates growth of the sports industry, enables sporting organizations to finance high-profile sports events, and provides the means to promote sports development. Business transactions related to sponsorship, merchandising, broadcasting and media deals are all built on IP rights.
The sports industry has a growing impact on the world economy, creating jobs, investing in public infrastructure and mobilizing resources. The global revenue of the sports industry – comprising sponsorships, gate revenues, media rights fees and merchandising – is predicted to reach US$ 133 billion in 2013 from US$ 114 billion in 2009. The annual global turnover of sporting goods (equipment, apparel and footwear) is put at around US$ 300 billion.
Find out more
- The Olympic Properties (WIPO Magazine 3/2012)
- UEFA's Battle for its Brand (WIPO Magazine 2/2012)
- Rugby, Rights and Revenues (WIPO Magazine 1/2012)
- 2006 World Cup – What was the IP Score? (WIPO Magazine 4/2006)
- Striving for excellence - An exhibition on IP and Sport (WIPO Magazine 3/2005)
- Sub Regional Seminar on Intellectual property and Sport (San Jose - Costa Rica, July 9 and 10, 2012)
- International Conference on the Strategic Use of IP by the Sport Industry (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil, September 12 and 13, 2012)
- Sub-regional Seminar on IP and Sport hosted by Jamaica and Usain Bolt Management (Kingston, April 19 and 20, 2011)