Transfer Pricing Associates

An Athlete's Intellectual Property Responsibility

post Thursday August 16, 2012

Olympics by FreeDigitalPhotos

While the Olympics has come to an end, it is only the beginning of a lifetime of fame and notoriety for many of the athletes that participated in the various events. Whether it is through endorsements, public appearances or future athletic opportunities, the impact of intellectual property rights on future earning potential is substantial. As valuation of intangible assets becomes more complex, athletes must become aware of the potential opportunities and pitfalls.

Second only to their athletic ability, the athlete’s image is their most important asset. Athletes entering the public sphere of paid opportunities must be aware of “legal rights associated with the images of a celebrity in marketing and promotional activities” according to an article on An athlete’s image rights include the name or nickname of an athlete, their signature, endorsement, reputation, voice and video film portrayal, etc. The athlete, as owner of their own image, must protect the exclusive trade rights just as a major company would protect the rights surrounding a new technological innovation.

One example of successful image building is Usain Bolt. Few people will not recognize his name, and most will see it as synonymous with broad statements like ‘the world’s fastest man.’ His image as a charismatic athlete further increases his marketability as an athlete and a media magnet. Bolt currently earns about $15 million in endorsements from Puma, Visa and Hublot. His brand only continues to grow as his athletic abilities and fan base increases.

Source: DunnCox, Novagraaf

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