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World Intellectual Property Day – April 26, 2019

Reach for Gold: IP and Sports

Every April 26, we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day to learn about the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

Faster, stronger, higher! The drive to test our abilities, the thrill of competition, and the awe we experience in watching ordinary people achieving extraordinary feats, have fueled our fascination with sports for thousands of years.

This year’s World Intellectual Property Day campaign – Reach for Gold – takes a closer look inside the world of sports. It explores how innovation, creativity and the IP rights that encourage and protect them support the development of sport and its enjoyment around the world.

The universal values sports encompass – excellence, respect and fair play – power their global appeal. Today, thanks to advances in broadcasting and communications technologies, anyone, anywhere, can follow sporting action around the clock, tracking the performances of their favorite athletes and teams without leaving home.

Sports have become a multi-billion dollar global industry – one that generates investment in facilities (from sports stadia to broadcasting networks), employs millions of people around the world, and entertains many more.

Business relationships built on IP rights help to secure the economic value of sports. This, in turn, stimulates growth of the industry by enabling sporting organizations to finance the events we savor, and by providing the means to promote sports development at the grassroots.

We look at how sports businesses use patents and designs to foster the development of new sports technologies, materials, training, and equipment to help improve athletic performance and engage fans worldwide.

We find out how trademarks and branding maximize commercial revenue from sponsorship, merchandising and licensing agreements. These revenues offset the cost of organizing world class events, such as the Olympic Games and World Cup series, and ensure that the value and integrity of these spectacular events are safeguarded.

We look at how sports personalities are able to generate earnings from sponsorship deals with brand owners and by leveraging their own brands as athletes.

We explore how broadcasting rights underpin the relationship between sport and television and other media that bring fans ever closer to sporting action.

We zoom in on some of the game-changing technological advances in robotics and artificial intelligence that are driving change in all sports fields.

This year’s campaign is an opportunity to celebrate our sporting heroes, and all the people around the world who are innovating behind the scenes to boost sports’ performance and its global appeal.

Join us in celebrating the power of sports to engage and inspire, to innovate and unite us all in pushing the boundaries of human achievement.

Tell us about your sporting heroes and your favorite sports innovation, and share your views on the future of sports.

Get involved!

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World IP Day events map

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World IP Day message

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry highlights the positive role that IP plays in encouraging sports, which enrich our lives in so many different ways.

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Innovation in the sports industry

Sports-related international patent applications are on the rise. Nike is the top filer of PCT patent applications relating to sports.

Intellectual property and sports

(Photo: © 2014 / CIO/HUET, John

IP and the Olympic Games

There's more to the Olympic Games than star athletes: Have you ever thought about how IP rights help athletes compete, and even make the Games possible?

(Photo: Eamonn McCabe)

Understanding sports image rights

The commercialization of sports image rights is big business. But they are known by different names and subject to different legal treatment in different jurisdictions.

(Photo: Ben Duffy)

Team Antigua Island Girls: one of the toughest teams in the world

How technology and sponsorship enabled the first all-female Caribbean team to row across the Atlantic.

(Photo: Getty Images/master1305)

Ambush marketing: when sponsors cry "foul"

Sponsors pay hundreds of millions of dollars to showcase their brands at top sports events. What practical steps can sponsors take to safeguard their investment?

(Photo: Getty Images/© valio84sl)

IP, sports and tourism

Sports tourism is growing fast, creating opportunities for nations to capitalize on their success in sports to promote social, economic and cultural development.

(Photo: SCOTT S.A.)

IP and sports products go hand in hand

Why IP rights matter for the sporting goods industry as well as for sports clubs, event organizers and consumers.

Copyright and sports broadcasting in Kenya

Globally, the rights associated with the broadcasting of sports events are not clear-cut. In many countries, including Kenya, court decisions form the basis of the jurisprudence on the matter.

In depth: IP and sports

How IP rights support the world of sports – from sports federations to athletes and sports fans.

WIPO Magazine – special focus issue

Issue 2/2019 explores the connections between the worlds of IP and sports.

Views from the world of sports

“As an athlete, I think IP rights and the protection of those rights is important...it allows me access to equipment, gear, and innovations that help me to perform better as an athlete and to achieve my sporting goals.” – William Winram, world-record freediver, ocean explorer and conservationist.

“I think it is very interesting for a trademark to be associated with an athlete. The better we play on the track, the more visibility we will give to the sponsor. It’s an exchange, a two-way street.” – Lorena Spoladore, Brazilian Paralympic sprinter.

“There is no doubt that inventions are essential for sport as there is no result in sport without inventions. Let us protect our authors, inventors and everyone who is related to intellectual property.” – Svetlana Zhurova, 2006 Olympic champion in speed-skating.

“We believe that intellectual property is an important cornerstone of commercial sports, and hope that more brands, media, players, fans, and tournaments will join us with WIPO in thinking about and innovating how intellectual property can support the development of sports worldwide.” – Alfred Zhang, Co-Tournament Director, China Open.

“Intellectual property means that we can speak more openly about our technological advances and that it’s kind of worth pouring our heart and souls into new innovations for the benefit of society.” – Jana Maes and Sophia Borowka, Founders of Caressoma. Caressoma is working on diagnostic tools for muscle and soft tissue related injuries and other problems.

“Intellectual property means we know what we do today will be sustainable over time, and will therefore allow the company to develop the added value of its brand, to be more competitive tomorrow and around the world.” – Frédéric Ducruet, General Manager, Millet Mountain Group.

“Innovation is indispensable for a high level of sport. It improves performance, because products are lighter, much more efficient, and more accessible, even for the most specialized racers” – Jacques Bonfils, Product Manager, Movement Skis.

“Creators and inventors deserve our respect, just like the applause and encouragement athletes get from the audience and fans.” – Zhang Shuai, Chinese tennis player.

“Feel free to have your ideas…make something that makes your life worthwhile.” – Viktor Huszár, CEO and Co-Founder of Teqball, a mix of football and table tennis.

“All shoes will become smart shoes in the near future – they’ll never be a product that just covers your feet and gives you a nice look” – Karim Oumnia, CEO of smart footwear company Zhor-Tech.

”Innovation is the driving force in sport today, so that athletes can perform to the best of their ability.” – Thierry Kunz, Brand Lead, Nidecker Group, a major snowboard brand.

“Sponsorship helps the athlete achieve the maximum of their potential and their goals…it’s a huge part of sports that I’d love to see expanded, especially in swimming” – Sara Jokonya, Swiss Swimmer.

WIPO and sports

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WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty and sport inventions

Sporting innovations that have passed through the International Patent System.

(Photo: AndreyPopov (iStock/Getty Images Plus))

WIPO's Madrid System and sport brands

Sports-related trademarks and the International Trademark System.

SEAC – Photo by Renata Romeo

WIPO's Hague System and sport designs

Design innovations to surf the slopes and explore the world underwater that have passed through the International Design System.

Copyright and broadcasting

Carole Croella from WIPO's Copyright Law Division explains how copyright and broadcasting rights underpin sporting events worldwide. The protection of broadcasting organizations is on the agenda of WIPO's copyright committee.

Resolving IP and sports disputes

An overview of mediation, arbitration, and domain name disputes resolution services provided by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.

(Photo: hanohikirf/Alamy Stock Photo)

Sports, IP and development

How strategic use of IP rights and WIPO initiatives support economic development.

World IP Day at WIPO

Screening of “Campeones”

Public movie screening of Spain's comedy-drama "Champions" in the presence of Director Javier Fesser and members of the cast. April 25, 2019, from 5:30 p.m. Flyer PDF, Flyer Screening of Campeones

Exhibition: Championing IP in the Sports World

Organized by Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia. From April 25 to May 2, 2019. Flyer PDF, Flyer World IP Day exhibition

PDF, Flyer Teqball

Teqball demo

Meet the co-founders and Teqball, a mix of football and table tennis – and try it out yourself! April 26, 2019, from 1:00 p.m. Flyer PDF, Flyer Teqball. The Teqball table will be at WIPO until May 1, 2019.

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Milestones in Olympic Broadcasting – A Video Memoire

From April 26 to May 10, 2019 in the lobby of the WIPO New Building.

Publicity materials

All PDF files are print-ready. Additional templates, landscape visuals and editable files are available in our social media kit.

  • Poster World IP Day 2019, Poster
  • Bookmark World IP Day 2019, bookmark
  • Postcard World IP Day 2019, postcard
  • Pictogram World IP Day 2019, pictogram
These materials can only be used for the purpose of the World IP Day 2019 campaign. Modified World IP Day campaign materials can be reproduced, distributed and made available to the public in any form only for non-commercial purposes.
Image: emrVectors (iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Frequently asked questions

Why celebrate World IP Day? What kind of events can I organize? How can I add my event to the map? Answers to 16 frequently asked questions about World IP Day.

More about World IP Day

In 2000, WIPO's member states designated April 26 – the day on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970 – as World IP Day with the aim of increasing general understanding of IP. 

Since then, World IP Day has offered a unique opportunity each year to join with others around the globe to consider how IP contributes to the flourishing of music and the arts and to driving the technological innovation that helps shape our world.

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