OLYMPICS AND IP RIGHTS: AN IMPORTANT LEGAL ASPECT

Introduction
All through August and September, fans and competitors all throughout the globe are getting a charge out of one of the World’s greatest games; the deferred Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In any case, just as being the zenith of athletic contests, the Olympics are additionally somehow or another a celebration of licensed innovation (IP) security. Intellectual Property rights hold a vital place in the sports industry. When it comes to IP rights in the sports industry, there are many aspects that we need to keep in mind. It includes trademarks, copyright
and several other IP rights which are associated. They can be seen in the form of logos of brands,
names of the teams, branding of the sports and teams.


Olympics is hosted every four years and every time it is hosted by a different city. Competitors compete with others in various categories of sports. This is something that people usually know about the Olympics. However, if we take a look from the legal perspective, like other events and fests, Olympics also are associated with IP Rights. These rights are protected by International Olympic Committee (IOC). It plays a major role in protecting the Olympic properties. Did you know the first-ever Olympic was held in antiquated Greek in the eighth century, whereas the first time modern Olympic games were held was in 1896? The International Olympic Committee secures its uniqueness, worth and greatness through powerful intellectual property insurance. The Five Rings symbolising the Olympics is the world’s perhaps the most important logo. The WIPO directed Nairobi Treaty on the insurance of the Olympic Symbol was embraced in 1981. To have the Olympic game the country needs to communicate and show its interest in hosting the Olympics to the National Olympic Committee. In this manner, it needs to enroll and register its brand name, such as the logo of Olympics 2020 held in Tokyo. The country needs to partake in a proper preliminary to the Olympics with a plan for all imaginative and varying media content qualified for copyright protection. The Olympic games true mascot also has a large brand value that utilizes an idea called Ambush Marketing like in the 1992 winter Olympics in France, Visa was its true support.

The most important resource of Olympic intellectual property rights is broadcasting rights. It represents 73% of IOC pay. The most primary IP rights in association with Olympic are the rights of the host cities. As we see, cities for hosting the Olympics in upcoming years are pre-decided. For this, the trademarks are needed to be registered by them, such as, the trademarks that have been registered for Paris, 2024, Beijing 2022 and Angeles 2028. For this purpose, domain names are registered on the internet. It is vital for preserving the names and preventing internet abuse of the domain names. The cities which be a part of candidature for hosting the Olympics are selected by IOC. On being selected, the IP assets are transferred to the host city. This includes the rights and the IP rights related to the broadcasting and branding of the Olympics.


Olympic Torch: A Protected IP Asset
Did you know that even the Olympic Torch which is lighted at the beginning of the games is also protected under IP rights? The torch is designed especially for each edition of the Olympics it is protected by industrial designs rights commonly. However, sometimes they are a part of copyrights and patents. Before the flame arrives at the host country, it comes from Greece. The Olympic Cauldron sits in the stadium that is also protected under IP Rights. This is protected so that the design of the torch remains unique for every edition of the Olympics. Also, to make sure that the design doesn’t get copied by any other event and remains an entity of the particular edition of Olympics.

Logo Protection
The logo of the Olympics stands as a unique pattern. The interlocking rings of the Olympics logo specifies excellence, respect and friendship. This logo is protected by the IOC so that it doesn’t get copied. This logo now gets associated with the fundamental values of sports and Olympic Movements. The logo also enjoys protection under Nairobi Treaty on Protection of Olympic Symbol. The states that have signed the treaty are obliged to use the logo only with the authorization of the IOC.

Apart from this, the graphic logos of every edition is also protected, when we talk about the logo of Tokyo 2020, the logo was changed after being opposed by a designer. It was claimed that the Tokyo organising Committee has ripped off a logo that was initially designed by him. Then, the logo was changed to a new one.

IP Rights of Sponsorship
Sponsorships are important when it comes to such international events. These are protected under trademarks and are necessary as it fuels the flow of revenue. The sponsorships for Tokyo 2020 accounts for 37% of the revenue generated totally in the Olympics. This is in accordance with Brand Protection Guidelines. The host cities have to be very careful in the aspect of sponsorships.

In Tokyo 2020, the main sponsors are AirBnb, Coca-cola, Bridgestone, Alibaba etc. These are already protected as per their local registrations but, it is the duty of protection of the IP rights of
sponsors. They constitute international registration.

Conclusion
As a whole, the Olympics is protected with intellectual property rights from every aspect. This helps the games to be protected from any outer source and keep the integrity of the games intact. IOC holds absolute rights and makes the required decisions. The rights of logos and brandings are protected by treaties and are taken care by organisations. It is necessary for the host states to comply with IP legal obligations and pay attention to them. It helps in protecting the uniqueness of the Olympics and the assets associated with it.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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