Sports & Entertainment

The intellectual property law aspects of the sports and entertainment industries are constantly changing due to the explosion of many new legal questions and challenges, due in great part to social media and mobile communication. We have represented many notables from these high-profile, high-stakes industries, and our reputation for recognizing the content, value and potential of a client’s intellectual property portfolio is second to none. We have worked with major sports institutions and leagues both here and abroad; assisted the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on intellectual property and image rights issues; represented big-name athletes and artists; and more. Whether devising a global licensing program, a sponsorship or endorsement agreement for a famous sports figure, or undertaking anti-counterfeiting actions in the United States and abroad, we bring the same drive, creativity, force and foresight to each and every client we have the privilege to represent. We are experts in protecting the name and likenesses of famous sports figures and entertainers, and in dealing with ambush marketing issues which are commonly encountered at sports events.

Case Studies:

  • On behalf of a film-subtitling company, we filed a contempt proceeding to enforce a court ordered injunction against a rival company using a shared trademark for subtitling services in an unauthorized manner. Our proceeding showed that the injunction had clearly delineated the respective rights of the parties during the underlying litigation. The Court agreed, finding the opposing party to be in civil contempt. The Court further ordered that a copy of the injunction be translated and provided to employees with regular contact with customers in the U.S.
  • On behalf of a famous female tennis player, we negotiated a sponsorship and licensing agreement with a well-known German perfume company based in Cologne. With the benefit of our counsel, the agreement was broadened to include live appearances and a larger number of consumer goods to be marketed worldwide.
  • We worked on an endorsement and license agreement between a famous baseball player currently playing in Major League Baseball and a manufacturer of baseball bats, baseball equipment and apparel industry footwear; the agreement involved the worldwide license to use the player’s name, likeness, voice, signature and other attributes (including athlete nicknames) in connection with advertising, merchandising, promotion, manufacture, sale and distribution of certain sports products.
  • We guided our client, a world-renowned foreign soccer federation, into a multi-million dollar agreement with a major United States sporting goods company for the design, manufacture and sale of the federation’s jerseys and athletic footwear products. We ensured that the contract was drafted in both English and Spanish and arranged for the inclusion of an arbitration provision based on the sport’s rules and Swiss negotiation guidelines.
  • On behalf of our client, a well-known professional basketball player, we undertook a set of actions in China to protect his rights. The actions sought to stop the manufacture and sale of infringing athletic footwear products bearing the player’s name. With the assistance of the Administration for Industry & Commerce, a Chinese agency, two raids were successfully completed at the manufacturing site close to the Korean border, and 48,000 pairs of unauthorized shoes were confiscated. Because of our persistence, the trademark registrations for the athlete’s name, signature and identifying phrases gained unilateral recognition and rights protection, both of landmark importance at the time.
  • Our client, a major entertainment company, had developed some concepts that became crucial for making, recording and distributing entertainment programs. After extensive consultation with their technical and product development personnel, we constructed a portfolio to cover their many innovative processes and concepts. As a result of this work, the company went on to participate in several joint ventures with others in their field, exploiting the contents of their portfolio to secure a number of very lucrative licensing agreements.