World Intellectual Property Day is an annual event held every April 26th to celebrate intellectual property (IP) rights and to encourage innovation and creativity. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) chooses a theme each year to help explore these topics; this year’s theme is Reach for Gold: IP and Sports and explores how inventions and artistic works, along with IP rights, such as patents, trademark, and copyright, impact the sports industry.
What is Intellectual Property?
Simply put, intellectual property “refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” IP is protected by law and may be protected by copyright, trademarks, and patents. In the context of sports, here are some examples to better understand what each of these means.
- Patents: This is a legal term that describes exclusive rights that someone has as the creator of an invention through a product or process. As the patent holder, you have the rights to make, use, or sell your invention and stop others from doing so without your permission. For example, specific sports equipment may have a particular design or process that is protected by a patent.
- Copyrights: This is a legal term that describes the bundle of rights an author or creator has to their literary or artistic works. As the copyright holder, you have the exclusive rights to use and distribute the works, until you sell, license, and/or give your rights away. For example, media companies may pay the copyright holder of a sporting event to broadcast it.
- Trademarks: This legal term describes signs, symbols, and words that identify goods or services. For example, football player Tim Tebow has a trademark on the term “Tebowing.”
Why is IP Important in Sports?
With this year’s World Intellectual Property Day focusing on sports, it’s important to look at why IP is important in this field. The impact IP has on sports has been particularly important for developing new technology and innovations that help athletes train smarter and more effectively. IP also leads to other innovations for sports fans to enjoy sporting events in new and unprecedented ways, such as through virtual and augmented reality. In addition, IP helps support economic development by generating income of sports-related goods, supporting innovation and business growth, and by boosting international trade.
IP and Sports at UCF
There are a variety of ways that IP and sports takes shape at the University of Central Florida. The Sports Business Management Program, for instance, encourages students to continue to lead the charge on developing and contributing to the sports industry. Those in the program gain knowledge and skills to not only succeed as business professionals but to be an active participant in the business side of the sport and entertainment industry.
UCF’s Office of Technology Transfer researchers bring new technologies into the marketplace through IP protection and actively work with outside companies to transform these ideas into successful products. Some of these technologies related to sports include an Improved Algorithm to Count Dense Crowds, which addresses crowd management and event attendance, and Computer Recognition of Human Movements from Any Angle, which focuses on physical therapy and sports enhancement.
Learn More About IP and Sports
For those who want to learn more about sports business, UCF Libraries provides access to Sports Market Analytics, a database of sports statistics such as fan demographics, venues, sporting equipment, social media, and more.
To see what others are saying online use the hashtag #WorldIPDay to learn more.