IPR in Sports: Part-2

When we talk about Personality Rights which are also associated with sports industry because now a day’s big sports teams or companies take big movie stars in their branding and marketing strategies and it leads to various forms of image creation, brand endorsement and revenue generation. It is important that federations, organizers, team owners and sports gear manufacturers must go for registration of their team names, logos, venues, captions and taglines, slogans in the globalized world.

When we talk about Domain Names in the field of sports, Indian courts for the most part place domain name under the of Trademark as it were. It assumes an essential function in assurance of IP rights related with sports. A few data are being imparted and games are being communicated through web, which has not just gotten colossal pieces of the overall industry in making of brand esteem, yet additionally has given numerous events to the digital vagrants for carrying out a wrongdoing, just by exploiting the vulnerability which might be responsible exclusively to domain names. Through site, publicizing just as making brands have gotten very simple. To make brand acknowledgment, many support organizations are occupied with selling of tickets of a game occasion on the web, web-based shopping sites for selling marked product, and so on, so as make the experience of a client agreeable and better. As we as a whole know about the way that web is an effective method to spread mindfulness about the groups, players and the game. Enrolment of various area names has gotten essential to ensure the internet gamers, fans, stock buyer, and so forth from submitting any errors which would eventually prompt the snare of digital vagrants. It is consistently fitting to be ensured against the brand abuse and brand name weakening by enrolling the domain names with mainstream gTLDs, for example, .com., gov., .org, and so on.

So, we can definitely say that IPR plays great role in the field of sports and now time has come where Indian Judiciary should also recognize these rights.

Then coming down to Ambush Marketing in the field of sports, and this is where IP Laws of the country plays a great role. Ambush Marketing refers to a marketing strategy wherein companies try to free ride over the privileges obtained by the company who are official sponsors of a particular sport event. In other words, Ambush Marketing means attacking from a hidden position. The Ambusher promotes its merchandise brand by relating it to the players, teams, tournament or event without even paying for the benefits. The Ambusher is not an official sponsor of the sporting event; still, it spends money on advertising its Company. In the famous case of National Hockey League (NHL) vs. Pepsi-Cola Canada Ltd.[1] in the year 1990. In the present case, NHL, through an agreement, made Coca Cola its official sponsor for the sporting event. Coca Cola eventually obtained the right to use NHL’s symbols for its promotional programme in Canada & USA but did not obtain any broadcasting rights on television. NHL has already sold this right to a company named Pepsi-Cola, which was business rival of Coca Cola. The controversy arose between Coca Cola and Pepsi-Cola when Pepsi-Cola broadcasted an advertisement on television showing well-known celebrity conveying a message that Pepsi is the official drink of the tournament. Coca-Cola did not succeed in its claim for passing off against Pepsi-Cola.


So, the commercial sports always trigger core Intellectual Property Rights related to issues such as Trademark, Copyright etc. These IP rights must be protected in every aspect of the sport as mentioned above. So, the simple way to protect these rights a contractual agreement should be drafted which will protect all forms of IP rights associated with any sporting event. And sports industry generates so much revenue in different ways and it also enables employment in the country. So, it is very important for Indian Government to protect this industry and IP rights involved in it.

[1] (1995), 56 B.C.A.C. 1 (CA).

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