World Intellectual Property Organization

Sport and Design


(Photo: Adidas)

The influence of design in the world of sport is far-reaching. Where image and aesthetics are involved, so too is design, and where new materials emerge, aesthetics or design soon follow. Designs can include athletic shoes, sports bags and sport apparel such as swimsuits, gym wear and tennis outfits.

“Behind every new design is a desire to break new ground, to improve and to enhance consumer experience. Good design makes products easier, more comfortable and safer to use.” - Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General

In a highly competitive marketplace, design that makes a product more attractive and appealing to consumers plays a critical role in adding commercial value and making the product more marketable. Companies invest large sums of money and expertise in developing winning designs that respond to changing consumer tastes. By registering their designs and obtaining an intellectual property right over them, companies can defend themselves against imitators and counterfeiters.

Designs:

  • Improve performance
  • Bring style to technology
  • Encourage people to participate
  • Help make one brand more successful than another

Many sports equipment and clothing companies are working with fabric manufacturers to solve particular problems. GORE-TEX®, for example, started a revolution in the field of protective outerwear. Sports kit in all disciplines has become lighter and more comfortable. The X-Static® fabric, the result of ten years of research and testing, incorporates silver fibre that wicks away heat and moisture from the skin to keep the athlete dry and more comfortable. Other advanced fabrics insulate and offer protection against wind and water – properties that are particularly important for athletes operating in cold weather climates.

 

Protecting designs internationally

In most countries, an industrial design must be registered in order to be protected under industrial design law. However, protection is given only in the country where the design is registered. WIPO's Hague system provides an easy and cost-effective way to obtain protection for an industrial design in up to 57 countries.

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