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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

Related items

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 meeting

19 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 Football

01 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 bag

01 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.

Lewis Silkin will be attending the International Trademark Association INTA 139th annual meeting

20 May 2017

Our team will be attending the INTA annual meeting in Barcelona on the 20– 25 May 2017 and will be hosting an INTA Afternoon Tea reception on the 21 May.

Brand clearance

05 May 2017

Dominic Farnsworth has written a practical guide to brand clearance for Practical Law.

Image rights

27 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 UK

17 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.

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