SPORTS AND THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGTH By - Dhruv Kalantri

Sports is not only a set of players coming together to play a game but it is more than that. Sports can be said as the collection of cultures that are widely followed across the world and along with sports, the monetary business goes hand in hand. Sporting games are constantly empowered and encouraged by rulers, governments, private individuals, and entities they also have the monetary interest that is attached to it.


The Sports industry can be said is the growth stage and in cases monetary compensation this field can be said to entail huge profits if invested wisely and carefully. With the growth of this sector, the evolution of IPR is going hand in hand. IPRs can be said to those valuable assets which are used as marketing tools for the purpose of branding of sporting games and connected events, sports clubs, teams, celebrity status, etc. Marketing techniques are very usefully in the field of sports and can be applied in creation, maintenance, popularization, and sustenance of distinctive marks, logos, and personalities, while copyrights vesting in brand and image creation, etc. are protected to reap benefits on an exclusive basis considering the very nature of competition in sports.


If we take the case of India where Cricket is treated as a separate religion and has followed in millions ranging from children to old aged IPR is playing a crucial role because of commercialization and the investment interest. The Indian Premier League apart from its fan following across the globe has said to entail huge money scams in the recent past due to the involvement of large monetary stakes, fixing, betting, doping, and gambling issues. The Indian government has also a role to play and is trying its level best to gain the control over these scams taking in consideration every aspect which includes the players, teams, sponsors and the public at large, and for these purposes, it came across the introduction of the Sports Bill, 2011, which in the recent future will become the reality, and hopefully will be able to control the management of sports to some extent.



TRADEMARK IN SPORTS.


Trademark has its importance and role to play in cases of sports. The new ideologies and the teams in various sports coming up with the presence of features like a logo, captions, taglines, slogans, and team names, etc. As a result of which the brand value is created of the sporting teams, clubs, players, merchandise, etc. The names and the surnames of the players also entail huge popularity and have acquired the status of trademarks due to their celebrity status. This popularity and brand image eventually converts into monetary profit through advertisements, brand ambassadors, goodwill, and reputation of the sponsors, etc.

Thus to protect the Personality rights in the sports and prevent the logo, captions, taglines, slogans, and team names, etc from being used as goodwill for a business, (Indian) Trademarks Act 1999 has a crucial part to play. Under the (Indian) Trade Marks Act, 1999 both civil and criminal remedies are simultaneously available against infringement and passing off.


COPYRIGHT IN SPORTS


We can find the importance of copyright in the field of sports too. It can be in the form of artwork connected to the logos and trademarks, promotions, slogans, images of a player or event, etc. Thus to protect this we need to refer to the Copyright Act of 1957. Since we all have the basic knowledge of the registration of copyright not being mandatory and the same is comparatively easy to protect under the Indian laws.

India is also a member of the Berne Convention of 1906 which was for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the International Copyright Order, 1999. Hence it is advisable to register the copyright in India as if you register you get the registration certificate which acts as proof of ownership in the court of law.

However, the copyright law in the country has various remedies available which include civil remedies in the form of register the copyright in India and also makes it a cognizable offense punishable with a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to three years with a fine which shall not be less than INR 50,000 but may extend to INR 2,00,000.

For a tournament to take place be it of any game licenses and the sponsorship play a crucial role. By registering the IPRs these organization owners can entail huge economic benefits.

 Thus we can conclude that in these events and the entire sports industry the intellectual property rights play the most important role to get the most of it. This has been rightly pointed out by Prof. De Werra in his book Sports and Intellectual Property, “If an intellectual property has something to learn from the sports industry, it can conversely be considered that the sports industry may have something to gain from the assimilation of the key values of IP law.” Hence the growth of the sports industry is the growth of the intellectual Property Right world.


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