Monday, April 23, 2012

IP involved in Euro 2012

European soccer’s most coveted trophy is protected in various ways, by copyright law, and variously through the European Community Trademark System (CTM 007463821) including in 3D (CTM 8860025) and the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (IR 1020340). The trophy is also protected as a registered design (RCD 635750-33-34).

The registration and defense of marks is at the heart of UEFA’s IP protection strategy. As the holder of registered marks, UEFA is in a position to guarantee exclusive licensing rights to the commercial partners associated with its competitions. Such protection is often enshrined in a contract.

In the absence of special legislation, the protection afforded by trademark/service mark law remains the best way to combat the many infringements of the commercial rights linked to major sports competitions. The registration of a mark is often key to obtaining the support of the national authorities (in particular customs authorities, the police and trading and standards agencies) responsible for tackling infringing activities.

Marks for sporting events are unlike other well-known marks in that they have a very short shelf life. Those linked with the UEFA European Football Championship, for example, are specially created for the competition held in a particular year. This can be a challenge given the fact that registration procedures in some countries are not always adapted to the competition cycle. In this respect, the WIPO Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks is very useful as it guarantees the registration of events marks within 18 months, whereas in certain countries that are not part of the Madrid system, registration can take much longer. As these events are world renowned, the associated marks are registered not only in the host countries and all those taking part in the tournament, but also at the global level. The marks are also registered in almost all classes of goods and services to cover those offered by UEFA’s official partners.

The main designations linked to this year’s championship, namely, UEFA EURO 2012 and POLAND UKRAINE 2012 are, along with their local equivalents, protected as word marks, as are the different language versions of the official slogan “Creating History Together”. UEFA has also sought to protect the figurative elements of the UEFA EURO 2012 emblem, mascots and trophy. These official marks are widely protected through trademark or service mark registration, copyright and other IP laws. - WIPO Magazine

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