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Reach for Gold: IP and Sports

The theme for Intellectual Property day is Sports and IP.  That is why the “Reach for Gold: IP and Sports” workshop was organized by The Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO) and the National Sports Council of Belize for the sporting industry and athletic organizations. The conference which seeks to aid sporting clubs and athletes had participation from organizations and clubs across various sporting disciplines. Love News asked the organizers how teams and clubs could make money while protecting their brands.

Jose Sanchez – Reporter: “BELIPO administers all intellectual property legislation including trademark, copyright, patent and industrial design to promote the knowledge of intellectual property across the nation. While BELIPO advises the Government on policy Olabimpe Akinkoulie BELIPO’s Deputy Registrar says they tailored today’s message for sports.”

Olabimpe Akinkoulie – Deputy Registar: “Our main functions are to one administer all intellectual property legislation. This being trademark, copyright, patent, industrial design, new plans, varieties and also our second function is also to promote the knowledge of intellectual property across the nation and finally, we are to instruct, rather formulate policies to advise the Government of Belize on any matters concerning intellectual property. This year is sports and I.P.’s so truthfully we are going to be using every opportunity every year to highlight a specific industry within the nation and to see how intellectual property becomes action, that there is action within that specific industry so we are grateful that this year the focus is sports. We invited all twenty-seven registered federations to be participants and to be informed and educated on what areas intellectual property can add to your economic rights, can bring some sort of value to you even after you finish playing and you are thinking of your future returns, this is what this forum is basically here to guide and assist.”

Jose Sanchez – Reporter: “The Director of the National Sports Council Ian Jones reached out to a former professor to be the keynote speaker. Jones believes there are practical lessons that the clubs in attendance will benefit from attending the workshop.”

Ian Jones – Director of the National Sports Council: “What I have learned from Tyrone and in my profession and Director of the Sports Council it is very important for Federation Associations to  actually understand the purpose of intellectual property and how they could get a monetary value with their federation, their sporting associations through intellectual property. A typical example is not one single federation in Belize has their logo registered, that is their image, that is their brand, they need to capture that, they need to own that and I use an example such as the Belize Jaguars or the Hurricanes. They sell merchandise with their logos but they do not necessarily own the logo and it is just a matter of I believe them not understanding the purpose, the reason, the value behind owning their brand and so that is why we decided to come together and  bring all the federations in the same room and have Mr. Marcus do this lecture so that the they could be informed, be educated and then take that back to their athletes.

Jose Sanchez – Reporter: “Attorney Tyrone Marcus the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Association for Sports and Law is the main presenter at the event. He explained how athletics and copyright could be monetized.

Tyrone Marcus – President T&T Association for Sports and Law: “It is an athlete’s understanding that there is value attached to my sporting performance, value attached to my image and I think that is what a lot of the global stars have been able to understand: Venus and Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, across the board, they understand the value attached to their brand and their popularity and so they are able to earn money from it. I think the time is right for our region to understand our athletes here can monetize as well too.”

Jose Sanchez – Reporter: “And what are the forms or ways that this is done? What do you recommend for the region?”

Tyrone Marcus – President T&T Association for Sports and Law: “Yes so this is where I am grateful that the National Sports Council and BELIPO have come together because intellectual property is really at the heart of this monetization that we are talking about. This is about generating revenue through sport and so this morning already we have spoken about copyright law, we spoke about patent law, we have spoken about trademark law and how these aspects of intellectual property law can be applied to the sporting industry.”

Jose Sanchez – Reporter: “Marcus says intellectual property law seeks to reward inventiveness, creation, and innovation. If the principles are applied perhaps our athletes begin to grow their brand by protecting their image as role models. Jose Sanchez for Love News.”