IP, Brand Protection & Image Rights
Sport is an IP rich industry and our leading contentious and non-contentious IP lawyers help clients in the sector protect, exploit and manage their IP rights across the world.
Our in house trade mark team manage portfolios for a number of sports organisations, advising on efficient trade mark filing strategies, providing watching services and dealing with oppositions. In doing so we adapt to the client’s needs advising on best practice or taking a more pragmatic approach, achieving optimum results within the given budget.
Our IP litigators have advised on various high profile cases, including acting for Premier League clubs in trade mark disputes, athletes in defamation cases, and assisting various clients in taking a proactive stance against counterfeiters.
We also advise athletes, agents and clubs on the protection and exploitation of image rights, and advise brands and rights holders on ambush marketing issues, including specialist issues such as Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter.
Examples of our recent work include:
- managing international trade mark portoflios for several sports rights holders, including dealing with applications and oppositions through our in house trade marks team
- acting for a Premier League club in the defence of trade mark invalidation proceedings
- advising a Premier League player on his defamation claim against a national newspaper
- acting for various brands and marketing agencies in relation to IP, image rights and ambush marketing issues arising from marketing campaigns linked to major sports events
- providing advice on the practical and legal aspects of designing and implementing a brand protection programme for a sporting mega-event
- providing UK trade mark advice for one of the biggest global superstars of sport
Sports Q&A - What are your top five legal tips for the transfer window?25 January 2019
Whether you’re a junior lawyer whose recently started work in a football club or are just a fan who wants to know what legal issues might be holding up a deal to get a player signed, this month's Q+A on the top five legal tips for the transfer window should be of interest.
Alex Kelham comments for City A.M: 'Why has Colin Kaepernick filed a trade mark of his image?'30 October 2018
In an article for City A.M, Alex Kelham comments on former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick seeking to protect his assets by filing a trade mark in the US and discusses athletes' efforts to protect their personal brands.
Lewis Silkin will be attending the International Trademark Association INTA 140th annual meeting19 May 2018
Our team will be attending the INTA annual meeting in Seattle on 19-24 May 2018 and will be hosting an INTA Drinks reception on Sunday 20 May.
Iain McDonald comments for the Financial Times: Fantasy Football01 September 2017
Iain McDonald has commented in an article for the the Financial Times Wealth which discusses the rise of Fantasy Football and where all the money went. Iain’s comments suggest it would take a new methodology before Fantasy Football’s intellectual property could be protected.
Defences to infringement in the EU trademark reforms: a mixed bag01 August 2017
Simon Chapman has written an article for World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) which discusses how the EU trademark reforms have provided a mixed bag for right owners.
Brand clearance05 May 2017
Dominic Farnsworth has written a practical guide to brand clearance for Practical Law.
Image rights27 November 2016
Famous sportspeople, entertainers and other celebrities derive substantial incomes from allowing themselves to be commercially associated with brands. It is big business, very big business, and because of this celebrities are faced with two very different problems.
An introduction to trade marks in the UK17 November 2016
A trade mark registration provides the most effective form of protection against improper use of a business name, brand, logo or slogan by a competitor.