Intellectual Property in the FIFA World Cup


Andrés Iniesta driving the Jabulani, an iconic ball from the 2010 edition, into the bottom left corner against the Netherlands, Ecuador's disbelief as the opening goal of the 2022 World Cup was disallowed by new semi-automated offside technology, Germany's wing-shaped, maroon graphic jersey worn by Mario Götze as he clinched the winner in the 2014 finale, and more all pose a common underlying element that lies unvisited in the heat of The use of technology as contemporary football advancements, the aesthetically pleasing designs on football jerseys, or even catchy terminologies particular to the sport and associated products continue to be the subject of various discussions among football fans, who have every right to celebrate or contest these sentimental moments.

[Image Source : FIFA World Cup]

FIFA consistently creates and safeguards a wide range of brand assets in relation to its initiatives, events, and other operations. FIFA has created a variety of brand assets in relation to Qatar 2022, including logos, slogans, titles, symbols, and other identifiers in connection with the competition and themselves as a brand. The goal of this tournament's brand "suite"—which includes an official insignia, mascot, slogan, and more—is to establish a powerful brand that embodies both the event and the host nation and appeals to fans all around the world.

The FIFA website features a section devoted to highlighting its rights, including its registered and unregistered trademarks, designs, and copyrights. A few important documents and information about what is and is not considered appropriate in terms of using names and pictures connected to the competition are included in the Brand Protection webpage. Adidas, Coca-Cola, Wanda, KIA, Qatar Airways, Qatar Energy, and VISA are just a few of the FIFA's sponsor partne

Patentability of the ball and shoes in football

The majority of nations demand that the following patentability requirements be satisfied in order to obtain a patent: subject matter validity, novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. A football may not appear to a layperson of the 21st century to fit any of the requirements because it has always been available in the same form. One would even dispute the need for a patent on a product or technique whose knowledge is so widely known.

A US patent was granted to Charles Goodyear in 1844 for "Improvement in India-Rubber Fabric." It was accomplished through the production of rubber bladders that inflate, which are a football's main structural element. Even though there may not be a clear connection, the fact that the U.K. has consistently placed higher than the U.S. in international football despite having roots in similar periods may be due to the patenting of key ball components, which reduces the availability of the ball on the market. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) adopted the game's rules in 1886 and the ball's size and form were standardized in the early 1870s.

While it may seem like a design or trademark issue with shoes, patents are also applicable when there is an enhancement in utility. Since Germany's victory in 1954, their shoes have offered more interchangeable stud options. Since the dawn of time, referees have consistently made the right calls about free kicks, penalties, and offsides, among other things, but occasionally, especially when the outcome was crucial, they have come under fire for mistakes that were most likely made by mistake. While there may be certain instances of corruption, the human eye is generally limited in its ability to see everything, which can lead to poor judgements that might potentially put an end to a team's cup or league run.

IP Assets

The World Cup trophy, the name QATAR 2022, official insignia, and event mascots are important tournament assets. As with previous hosts of events like the Olympic Games and rugby World Cup competitions, Qatar has enacted specific regulations to control and oversee FIFA's and its business partners' intellectual property rights. Whether or not FIFA's World Cup trademarks are registered in Qatar, the law regards them as well-known and protected there. In addition to trademarks, design and copyright may exist in a variety of works, including slogans, logos, kits, and broadcasts in different nations.

Qatar unveiled its National Vision 2030 in 2008 with the goal of developing into a prosperous and sustainable knowledge-based nation. Since then, Qatar has worked to achieve this goal by diversifying its economy and sponsoring significant sporting events. As a result, Qatar is engaging in brand promotion, where the more successful the team, the more valuable the brand becomes, increasing the sports organization's purchasing power. To assist Qatar in hosting the World Cup, the FIFA IP Law No. 11 of 2021 on the Protection of Trademarks, Copyrights and Related Rights of FIFA has been put into effect. By simplifying IP registration and recognising FIFA trademarks as "well-known marks," the Act aids in the protection of FIFA's intellectual property rights.


Ambush marketing is when a non-sponsor of an event makes a deliberate attempt to give the appearance that they are the official sponsor, without permission and without paying sponsorship fees. Such tactics may mislead the public and unfairly capitalise on interest in an event from the public and media to promote their own goods. Although examples of such tactics can be seen as early as the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul where American Express and Visa led a number of "credit card wars," this form of marketing first became popular during the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Bavaria disguising Dutch models as Danish fans and revealing promotional attire once the match had begun.

To safeguard customers and stop ticket touting, FIFA outlawed unofficial resale sites that sold tickets, as is frequently seen at major sporting events. Prior to significant world events, Qatar implemented new laws that are mirrored by legislation already in place in other jurisdictions. There are already many websites offering tickets that are not authorised. A ticket for England's opening group match against Iran, for instance, is sold on one website under review for £9,000, more than 140 times its face value of £65.


There will be a control over the commercial exploitation of protected intellectual property, as there is with every major sporting event. Intellectual property violations can expose parties to serious claims, such as trademark and copyright infringement, possible criminal offences, and financial penalties. The standard litmus test should always be whether your branding or advertising of goods and services suggests a connection that leads customers to believe you are an official sponsor or licensee. Whatever the outcome of the Argentina-France World Cup final, intellectual property has triumphed in terms of patents and trademarks. Consider the use of copyrights, designs, and plant protection, which encompass broadcasting fields, jersey kits, training kits, and football fields, as a final consideration for the readers.

Author: Tanya Saraswat, in case of any query, contact us at Global Patent Filing or write back us via email at

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