Sports & Licensing

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With an estimated value of more than $500 billion, there are few more successful industries in the U.S. and globally than sports. As digital media rights outpace TV, brand sponsors enter new realms, the shift to mobile-first engagement surges forward, and the emergence of the huge new e-sports fan base expands daily, sports fans and businesses are seeking and offering far deeper and more entertaining experiences. In addition and accelerated by recent U.S. court rulings, even U.S. college athletes are joining other amateurs and professionals around the world in becoming brands themselves, while increased celebrity investment and involvement races forward in the sprint for expanding market share.

Regardless of the end game, Rothwell Figg solves the legal challenges associated with all variety of IP that arise daily for clients involved in the sports industry. We have and continue to represent major associations in the U.S. and in Europe that run some of the largest and most anticipated sporting events in the world. Our experience spans from tennis and other sports associations to the NFL, sports leagues, professional athletes, and coaches (active or retired). We also represent professional sports franchises and individuals and companies providing products and services in the industry.

First and foremost, we work with our clients to identify, own, protect, and enforce their IP rights in the U.S. and abroad – particularly their trademarks in the relentless effort to develop licensing relationships and to battle against anti-counterfeiting. Our experience includes advising on patents involving aspects of stadium design and protecting IP properties used in the “traditional” collectable market, as well as digital collectibles such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as potential collectible investment vehicles.

We ably guide clients through the boom of content owners taking a digital version of a pre-existing work and selling or licensing those rights on blockchain or other platforms to ensure authentication and continued historical tracking. We are skilled in advising on the IP of Internet and new media ventures that can also incorporate famous luxury brands and popular athletes. As needed, our advocates are formidable and have successfully enforced and defended clients’ rights in litigation across the country, both in and out of court.

Licensing a sports property safeguards an owner’s rights and interests while also achieving critical financial objectives. Because IP rights are the basis of licensing and merchandising agreements for the sports industry, our team draws upon its extensive combined experience in the industry and in the wider licensing universe to negotiate and advise on every aspect of sports licensing.


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