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The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property (patents, copyright, trademarks, designs, etc.) as a means of stimulating innovation and creativity.

We promote the development and use of the international IP system through:

  • Services - We run systems which make it easier to obtain protection internationally for patents, trademarks, designs and appellations of origin; and to resolve IP disputes.
  • Law - We help develop the international legal IP framework in line with society’s evolving needs.
  • Infrastructure - We build collaborative networks and technical platforms to share knowledge and simplify IP transactions, including free databases and tools for exchanging information.
  • Development - We build capacity in the use of IP to support economic development.

Sport and Intellectual Property

Innovation and creativity are key drivers in the world of sport. In every sporting field, teams of inventors and creators are working behind the scenes to push the boundaries of possibility, creating new opportunities for athletes to better their performance and for broader participation in and enjoyment of sport.

Sport shows intellectual property (IP) in action. Patents encourage technological advances that result in better sporting equipment and other sport-related innovations. Trademarks, brands and designs contribute to the distinct identity of sports events, teams, players and their gear. Copyright-related rights generate the revenues needed for broadcasters to invest in the costly organizational and technical undertaking of broadcasting sports events to millions of fans all over the world. IP rights are the basis of licensing and merchandising agreements that earn revenues to support development of the sports industry.

 IP powers the business of sport

IP lies at the heart of the huge commercial opportunities offered by the world of sport. IP rights (especially patents, trademarks and broadcasting rights) - and the legal protection they give – help to secure the economic value of sport. This in turn stimulates growth of the sports industry, enables sporting organizations to finance high-profile sports events, and provides the means to promote sports development. Business transactions related to sponsorship, merchandising, broadcasting and media deals are all built on IP rights.

The sports industry has a growing impact on the world economy, creating jobs, investing in public infrastructure and mobilizing resources.  The global revenue of the sports industry – comprising sponsorships, gate revenues, media rights fees and merchandising – is predicted to reach US$ 133 billion in 2013 from US$ 114 billion in 2009. The annual global turnover of sporting goods (equipment, apparel and footwear) is put at around US$ 300 billion.



The Olympic Properties (WIPO Magazine 3/2012)



UEFA's Battle for its Brand (WIPO Magazine 2/2012)



Rugby, Rights and Revenues (WIPO Magazine 1/2012)• 2006 World Cup – What was the IP Score? (WIPO Magazine 4/2006)




• Regional Conference for Africa on the Staregic Use of Intellectual Property for Sport (Dakar, May 21 and 22, 2013)



• Sub Regional Seminar on Intellectual property and Sport (San Jose - Costa Rica, July 9 and 10, 2012)



• International Conference on the Strategic Use of IP by the Sport Industry (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil, September 12 and 13, 2012)



Sub-regional Seminar on IP and Sport hosted by Jamaica and Usain Bolt Management (Kingston, April 19 and 20, 2011), hosted by Jamaica, Gordon McGrath law firm and Usain Bolt.



To find out more WIPO about and their role in Sport and development visit: http://www.wipo.int/ip-sport/en/development.html

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