Resolving Sports and IP Disputes through WIPO Alternative Dispute Resolution

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center offers Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services to cover a wide range of disputes that can arise in the area of sports. These services include mediation, arbitration, and expert determination, as well as procedures to resolve domain name disputes.

ADR for sports and IP disputes

WIPO Center procedures are well suited for resolving commercial disputes between private parties, including in the field of sports. These disputes often relate to valuable trademarks, industrial designs, copyright and related rights, and patented technologies. The WIPO Center’s ADR services include dispute resolution procedural guidance and case administration services under the WIPO Rules.

WIPO ADR procedures are flexible, as well as time- and cost-efficient, allowing parties in sports disputes to come to practical and mutually-satisfactory solutions. Parties can choose a mediator, arbitrator or expert with specific expertise in sports law, intellectual property (IP), and dispute resolution. They also benefit from having a neutral forum for resolving an international dispute through a single procedure.

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An overview of mediation, arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution procedures.

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WIPO ADR services have been used by parties to resolve trademark license and distribution disputes, patent license disputes related to sports goods, and broadcasting rights disputes, among numerous other types of disputes.

The WIPO Center also makes available the WIPO eADR case administration platform, which allows all actors involved in a WIPO case to submit communications electronically into a confidential filing system. In early 2018, the WIPO Center made available to the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel (ACAP) a tailored version of WIPO eADR for managing disputes filed with ACAP in the course of the upcoming 36th edition of the America’s Cup sailing race series.

Domain name disputes

The WIPO-designed Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) has become accepted as the international standard for resolving domain name disputes outside national courts. It is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names, commonly known as cybersquatting. Under the UDRP, a complainant must demonstrate that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, that the respondent does not have a right or legitimate interest in the domain name, and that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith.

Disputes brought to the WIPO Center are decided by independent panelists drawn from the WIPO Center’s list of trademark specialists. Many cases have been filed by well-known sports personalities, including footballer Lionel Messi; organizers of competitions such as the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, and the London Marathon; football teams Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and basketball’s New York Knicks; and trademarked products of sporting goods manufacturers, such as Nike, Adidas, and Speedo. 

  • Learn more about WIPO domain name dispute resolution procedures.