The International Trademark Association (INTA) is celebrating the world’s most popular sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, with the release of its World Football Summit Trademark and IP Toolkit, a practical resource for football (soccer) organizations and brands to effectively protect and leverage their intellectual property (IP) rights.
Football brands are “Super Brands” because they convey the passion of their fans and customers, representing the values and goodwill associated with those brands. The tremendous opportunities available to football clubs and organizations extend well beyond what happens on the field. Brand names, logos, crests, mascots, and other distinctive signs—all of which can be the subject matter of licensing and merchandising agreements—as well as athlete likenesses, all show the extent to which IP is a fundamental and inextricably intertwined aspect of football.
In Football 50 2022, a report covering the most valuable and strongest football brands of 2022, Brand Finance views brand value as the “present value of earnings specifically related to brand reputation,” noting that, “[o]rganisations own and control these earnings by owning trademark rights.” It estimated the value of the JUVENTUS trademark, for example, at € 705 million (approximately US $730.7 million). The report found REAL MADRID to be both the strongest and most valuable brand in 2022, valued at € 1.5 billion (approximately US $1.55 billion).
As noted in the World Football Summit Trademark and IP Toolkit, protecting trademarks and complementary IP assets “is fundamental for all parties involved in the business. That is why football and IP are inextricably intertwined.”
First presented to the football community in late September at the 2022 World Football Summit in Seville, Spain, the Toolkit covers the most relevant aspects of the interface between IP and football—from the foundational issues of registration to a more nuanced discussion of markets some might not otherwise consider. Highlights include the following:
- How the creation and protection of trademarks is vital to a club for purposes of revenue and business growth;
- How to approach the commercialization of IP, including sponsorship contracts signed by leagues, clubs, and players;
- Where football and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) meet and the related opportunities for clubs and other football-related entities;
- How IP enforcement is especially important in the video game industry, as well as elaborations in the metaverse, on blockchain, and in third-party marketplaces and platforms. It focuses on challenges that are unique to these digital spaces; and
- Both offline and online enforcement.
“If a club or football-related entity does not understand and address these issues, it is likely missing out on core revenue by failing to protect and monetize IP rights as a strategic tool to grow their business,” the report said.
About the International Trademark Association
The International Trademark Association (INTA) is a global association of brand owners and professionals dedicated to supporting trademarks and complementary intellectual property (IP) to foster consumer trust, economic growth, and innovation, and committed to building a better society through brands. Members include nearly 6,500 organizations, representing more than 34,350 individuals (trademark owners, professionals, and academics) from 185 countries, who benefit from the Association’s global trademark resources, policy development, education and training, and international network. Founded in 1878, INTA is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Beijing, Brussels, Santiago, Singapore, and the Washington, D.C., Metro Area, and a representative in New Delhi. For more information, visit inta.org.