2018 FIFA WORLD CUP and the Law

It’s no longer news that the 2018 FIFA WORLD  CUP is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018. With just a few days to the world cup, sports enthusiast like me can’t wait for the first round of matches, the Brands and advertising company can’t wait to jump on world cup trends and the sports lawyer is also ready to ensure his clients does not infringe on FIFA Intellectual property rights.

Intellectual Property rights refer to the rights given to people over their creative work. They enjoy the monopoly over this work for a certain duration. such works include “Literary artistic and scientific works; performances of performing artists, phonograms, and broadcasts; inventions in all fields of human endeavor; scientific discoveries; industrial designs; trademarks, service marks, and commercial names and designations; protection against unfair competition; and “all other rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields.” (Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, Signed at Stockholm on July 14, 1967; Article 2, § viii)

FIFA’s intellectual property primarily consists of trademarks such as FIFA, WORLD CUP 2018, RUSSIA 2018; designs (both registered and unregistered) and copyright as subsisting in works such as the Official Poster, Emblem, Mascot and Look artworks. FIFA has developed and protected an assortment of logos, words, titles, symbols and other trademarks which it will use.

A trademark usually shortened as ™  is a distinctive attribute that differentiates goods and service from others.  Such attributes include words, designs, letters, numerals or packaging, slogans, devices, symbols, etc. The FIFA corporate trademark, Zabivaka (name of the official mascot for the world cup event), 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA, WORLD CUP and other intellectual property owned by FIFA are protected, Hence it will be illegal to infringe on it. Copyright protects literary and artistic work e.g The match schedule.F or the FIFA 2018 world cup, an official poster will be created for the event alongside the official host city posters which have been created.  See some of the pictures below

Companies who intend to use such work for print and social media without association with FIFA  should obtain a license. Some prohibited acts include:

  1. The use of the trademark in proximity to a company logo.
  2. The use of FIFA intellectual property for commercial advertisements.
  3. Attaching FIFA intellectual property for a political or social advert.
  4. Trademarks used for merchandise e.g face cap, T-shirt etc
  5. Trademarks cannot be used for pages with commercial background without a license.
  6. Retweet of content for FIFA or FIFA  rights holders for commercial use is prohibited

To know more about FIFA intellectual property policy, kindly visit FIFA official website.


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