Shield of IPR around IPL
Sports has been there since the beginning of the civilised society, but it is
only now that sports are given such importance on a massive scale.It is seen
across the globe that sports as a full-fledged industry can and may contribute
about 1 to 5 percent of the countrys GDP. Now While we discuss sports, the
first name that strikes our mind is irrefutably Cricket. In India Cricket is a Star game, and without much exaggeration, it could be stated that people in
India breathe cricket, it has become our religion. The popularity of this game
can be measured through the mere existence of the "Indian Premier League” (IPL).
IPL has started in the year 2008 and has been a hit since its inception.
We are all well aware of the business cricket creates in India and take
cognizance that due to such enormous passion for the game people have invested
mammoth of money for the teams including their attires, t-shirt design, shoes.
IPL has its own website which gives out information pertaining to IPL news,
announcements, match reports, exclusive interviews of the teams and gives its
viewers option of polling before the match itself as to whom the viewers expect
or desire to win. With such functioning on a large scale without the protection
of intellectual property rights, it can be easily misused by a third party
rather being enjoyed by the rightful Creators. The functioning of intellectual
property rights come into the IPL scenario from end to end whether its a brand
name, team name, team logo, slogans, tag-lines used/advertised by various IPL
teams all needs vigilant IP protection and plays important role in increasing
the popularity of a team which cannot be compromised.
The Indian Premier League (IPL)
In todays era Intellect needs protection too and there is no business that
can run successfully without the shelter of intellectual property law. In
Cricket, among all the intellectual property rights, i) Copyright ii) Design and
iii) Trademark is required to be protected.
Copyright refers to the exclusive right in an "original literary
work”, to do or authorize the doing of work pertaining to literary, dramatic,
musical and artistic works and the producers of cinematograph films and sound
Copyright might be used in IPL to protect:
• Exclusive Photographs of events, teams and athletes.
• Published results
• IPL title track
The definition of a Design provides that a design refers to the
features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional
or both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or
chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are
judged solely by the eye. To be registrable, a design must be new or original.
Best IPL design examples would be exclusively designed IPL Cricket bats.
A trade mark means a word, phrase, letter, number, sound, smell,
shape, logo, picture that is used to distinguish the goods and services of one organisation from those of another. Sports name IPL in itself is a popular
merchandise trademark inclusive of its teams (Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians,
Kolkata Knight Riders), their events and their logos, colours and emblems hold
mercenary value and are essential components of branding. Now IPL has its
exclusive Jersey, caps, coffee mugs, laptop skins, mobile covers and a lot of
other merchandise online as well. There are some autographed merchandise as
well, where the fans can get exclusively signed merchandise.
According to Section 29(2)(c) of Trademarks Act, 1999,a registered trade mark is
infringed by a person who, not being a registered proprietor or a person using
by way of permitted use, uses in the course of trade, a mark which because of-
Its identity with the registered trade mark and the identity of the goods or
services covered by such registered trade mark, is likely to cause confusion on
the part of the public, or which is likely to have an association with the
registered trade mark.
Trademarks are registered and protected under Trademarks Act, 1999. Today it is
universally accepted fact that the trademarks play more important role as
compared to the dogmatic view that trademarks are just symbols to distinguish
goods belonging to a person from another person, TM has now evolved as an agent
of creating good will of the particular brand and contribute greatly in a
brand's business by helping them in establishing their brand value. Trademarks
are well thought of artistic symbols which are developed after rigorous analysis
of the psychological effect it would have on people's minds.
A registered trademark gives its owner the exclusive right to use, license or
sell the goods and services under the brand name for which it is registered.
Only a registered trademark can enjoy/avail the benefit of suing the
unauthorised use of trademark for infringement. Registration of trademark
forbids every other person to use or obtain the registration of that trademark
or a confusingly similar trademark in relation to the same goods or services in
relation to which the trade mark is registered.
In case intellectual property rights are not taken enough care of then the road
side sellers or petty shopkeepers can easily remake the products with cheaper
quality and sell it to make money, which will certainly take toll on the
original trademark owners. If people can get a good cheaper equivalent there is
higher chance that they will not want to pay more or feel the need to purchase
it from the original IPL merchandise. It is not just about cricket as a popular
sport that requires protection, whether it is FIFA World Cup, or Pro Kabbadi
if the owner seeks protection for intellectual property rights including sports
merchandise, the owner in order to protect his exclusive rights has to register
it under trademark and copyright.
Indian Premier League IPL
The Indian Premier League (IPL) which is officially Vivo Indian Premier
Leaguefor sponsorship reasons, is a professionalTwenty20 cricketleague
inIndiacontested during April and May of every year by teams representing
Indian cities and some states. The league was founded by the Board of Control
for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2008 which is regarded as the brainchild ofLalit
Modi, the founder and former commissioner of the league.IPL has its
exclusive window inICC Future Tours Programme. The brand value of IPL in 2017
wasUS$5.3 billion, according to Duff & Phelps.
The IPL's broadcast rights were originally held by a partnership betweenSony
Pictures Networks and World Sport Group. Subsequently in 2017, it was announced
that the then-current digital rightsholder,Star India(a subsidiary of21st
Century Fox), had acquired the global media rights to the IPL under a five-year
contract beginning in 2018.
List of IPL Teams in 2018:
Chennai Super Kings
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kings XI Punjab
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Comparison Cum Risk Analysis with Trademark Infringement Case
Any business certainly has investment but such big brands do revolve around
enormous investment and risk that comes along with it. A business can only run
well if the risk is calculated and a true businessman will always envisage and
pre-negate the risk which positively involves protection of intellectual
In PayPal vs. PayTM case
, the fact of the case is that the PayPal has filed a
case against PayTM wherein PayPal claims that PayTM has been infringing their
trademark rights and benefiting from their market popularity and value, as a
result are guilty of Passing off. This is a common claim by the Complainant or
Petitioner but in this very case the matter is that ordinary consumers like
regular workers, grocers and Uber drivers use and hear the word Paytm all day
every day – most of which would not even know about PayPal. PayPals foray into
India has been limited largely to eBay shoppers, freelancers and IT software
developers that are exposed to global economy much more than the ordinary
consumer – which means that if PayPal and/or Paytm were to conduct a survey, it
would likely result strongly in favor of Paytm.
However, had PayPal chosen to file a trademark infringement lawsuit before the
demonetization move was announced (or perhaps anytime in 2011-2014) when Paytm
had not yet established its household name status, it would have been a much
easier battle (albeit also bearing much less rewards). PayPal would however be
much better placed to win this dispute in virtually any other country (if and
when Paytm expands its operations in those countries) – where PayPal still is
recognized as a global payments leader.
Now when IPL is an Epic Brand, there is always such similar chances that a third
party might come up and sell products or provide services in the name of IPL
merchandise and if the original brand possessor does not register its trademark,
then they cannot hold a good position to fight it out in court or claim that
their business has been taken advantage of or their profit is compromised due to
a third partys fraud.
IPL is a similar concept as that of EPL and has undoubtedly created its own
niche in the field of cricket as EPL has made its mark in football. IPL has
turned out to be a perfect blend of sports and entertainment for cricket
enthusiasts. It has unquestionably provided a platform for the talented and
skillful young players who missed out the opportunity to be a part of the Indian
Cricket Team and follow their passion besides turning talent into profit not
just for themselves but for the investors too. The idea of IPR in Sports
dynamics has evolved and changed strikingly which as result has made BCCI and
IPL team owners to take adequate care of not only the team but the smooth
organizing of it every year without any glitch. Though external factors like
betting has played its negative role and popular personalities like Raj Kundra,
Vindu Dara Singh and Arbaaz Khan has been found guilty of betting/ match-fixing
and players like Sreesanth has faced BCCI life time ban.
Contemplating the importance of IP protection in sports, the author is convinced
of the substantial role of IP registration and that it is indisputably a
stepping stone towards the business/ franchise protection. It is evident from
the terms and conditions on the IPL site that BCCI has taken adequate steps for
protection of IPL franchise-
Ownership of Intellectual Property
"All trademarks, service marks and trade names on this website, are proprietary
to BCCI unless otherwise stated. No use of these may be made for any purpose
whatsoever without the prior written authorization of BCCI”.