Tensions can arise in the exploitation of intellectual property rights between the promotion of personal brand and the exploitation of individual image rights, and the brands of and sponsorship rights granted by sporting bodies and organisations.
For sporting giants like the Yankees, Manchester United Football Club and F.C. Barcelona (all of which frequently feature in the Forbes top 10 most valuable sports teams in the world) and institutions such as the Summer and Winter Olympics, multi-million dollar sponsorship deals are not just routine but expected. Alongside the team or event rights, however, individual athletes hold valuable individual image rights that they understandably want to exploit.
In some instances the individual’s interests in exploiting their own image rights will not align with those of your clients, their team or sporting body, not least because endorsement of the individual may divert revenue and consumer attention away from that team or association.
Sophie Lees in Sydney, considers some of the issues in more detail in this article, together with practical measures and legal tools that can be used to navigate these tensions.
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