The World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated annually on April 26th and is initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to highlight the role that Intellectual Property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity globally.
This year’s theme is focused on sports and looks at how innovation and creativity through IP rights supports the development of sports.
A growing part of the economic value of sports is linked to intellectual property rights. The sports industry every year generates billions of dollars globally. Sports practitioners all over the world have been able to generate enormous revenues from the exploitation of all aspects of Intellectual property. IP rights have provided the right incentive to continuously inspire advancement in the sector. Through marketing, promotions, franchising, merchandising and brand building of professional sports teams, these teams have become economically significant.
Sports cannot become a commercially productive asset without IP rights and incentives. These rights -Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks and Design are used to protect assets, generate value and stimulate growth.
Patent-protected inventions drive improvement in sporting equipment, including sportswear and footwear. Patents encourage the discovery and dissemination of new and original technologies that help athletes perform better.
Copyrights is attached to broadcast of sporting events. Broadcasting and media rights are the foundation for investment in transmitting tournaments to fans and sports enthusiasts.
Trademarks protect the goodwill of events, leagues, teams, athletes, manufacturers of sporting goods and other players in the sports industry. A major IP tool that is exploited by these sports teams are their brands. In the sports sector, aesthetics is protected by design specific rights.
Unlike other jurisdictions, Nigerian is yet to fully leverage on the use of IP rights for the development and commercialization of sports. It is important that professional teams for instance football clubs in Nigeria Professional Football league- Kano Pillars, Enyimba, MFM Football club, Enugu Rangers, etc. should look at the potentials in the exploitation of Intellectual Property rights to protect assets, generate value and stimulate growth.
As we celebrate the World IP day in Nigeria, we recognise the unifying power of sports as a powerful tool for progress and development. We also acknowledge our sporting heroes and their immense contribution to the development of sports in Nigeria.
The opinions in the articles are for general information purposes only and do not form a legal relationship or be taken as legal advice. To explore legal advice, please consult your solicitor or feel free to get in touch with us directly.