26 April 2019

World IP Day celebrations around the globe

In celebration of this year’s World IP Day, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has launched its “Reach for Gold” campaign, which explores how innovation, creativity and IP rights protect and support the development of sports.

In Japan, which is the host country of the 2020 Olympics, WIPO held a lecture on the relationship between sports, technology and IP in the country.

Yoshiaki Nagao, a paralympic wheelchair athletics medalist, spoke at the event on the advancement of science and technology and the evolution of a competition wheelchair.

Additionally, Hidenori Fujiwara, the senior managing executive officer of Fujitsu discussed cutting-edge technology that could revolutionise sports in the country.

In the US, non-profit organisation Copyright Alliance said it was celebrating World IP Day with a number of events across the country.

One event, which took place earlier this week on April 23, discussed the IP rights of athletes and sports teams and whether artists and creatives have the right to exploit that IP.

This topic recently made headlines as reported by  WIPR last week, when the US Patent and Trademark Office denied two trademark applications by the US basketball team Dallas Mavericks.

In Uganda, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (USRB) hosted an event today to raise awareness on advancing fair play in sports by fighting counterfeits and piracy in the sports industry.

As part of the event, the URSB named female rugby player Charlotte Mudola and racing driver Arthur Blick as its IP ambassadors.

In Brazil, WIPO will be hosting an event at its Rio de Janeiro regional office, which will look at how sports businesses use patents and designs to foster the development of new sports technologies and engage fans worldwide.

It will also explore how sports personalities are able to generate earnings from sponsorship deals with the brand owners, and by leveraging their own brands as athletes.

The International Trademark Association ( INTA) said it will be in attendance at the event in Rio de Janeiro.

INTA’s president-elect, Ayala Deutsch, who is the chief IP counsel for the National Basketball Association in New York, said: “Sports have a unique ability to bring people together across the globe, to support their favorite teams, and to celebrate the achievements of their favorite athletes.”

She described the sports industry as a “major driver of economic development”, including investment in public infrastructure projects and employment supporting millions of workers.

“Much of this is generated through IP-intensive activities,” she said.

INTA said it would also be attending other events across the globe, including a panel on the role of IP as an incentive for sports-related advancements in Brussels. This is organised by the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry and the US Mission to the European Union.

To highlight the link between sports and IP, the European Intellectual Property Office ( EUIPO) said it will be carrying out different awareness events at national and regional level.

In Thailand, the EUIPO has funded the “IP Key South Asia” project. The EUIPO said it collaborated with the Spanish football league La Liga to organise an exhibition which showcases how IP rights help support and maintain sporting leagues across the world.

In the run-up to World IP Day, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) spoke to companies in the sports industry about how protection of their IP has allowed them to build successful businesses. These were extreme sports equipment manufacturer Stateside Skates, gym equipment distributor Escape Fitness and officers from the Premier League.

Tim Moss, CEO of the UKIPO said: “Intellectual property is the thread that runs through the core of the sporting industry, from innovative technology, distinctive designs and trademarks to sponsorship deals and sports viewing.

“It is important that sports brands and manufacturers protect their innovation so they can build successful businesses and compete on the world stage.”

Separate from this year’s theme, in celebration of World IP Day, the City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit ( PIPCU) in the UK announced Operation Chargewell, which will assist victims of counterfeit websites in obtaining a refund.

Working in partnership with Lloyds Bank, PIPCU said victims who buy counterfeit products online unwittingly can report it to their bank.

They will then be directed to PIPCU, who will take details from the victim about the site and payment methods and assist in getting money returned.

Chargewell comes after the success of Operation Ashiko, launched in 2013.

In Ashiko, PIPCU used disruption tactics, such as working with domain registries and registrars to take down websites involved in IP crime. Since its inception in 2013, Ashiko has been instrumental in taking down more than 60,000 websites.

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