Sport shows intellectual property (IP) in action. Patents encourage technological advances that result in better sporting equipment. Trademarks, brands and designscontribute to the distinct identity of events, teams and their gear.
Copyright-related rights generate the revenues needed for broadcasters to invest in the costly undertaking of broadcasting sports events to fans all over the world. IP rights are the basis of licensing and merchandising agreements that earn revenues to support development of the sports industry.
The theme of this year's World Intellectual Property Day, "Reach for Gold: IP and Sports", is close to the heart of ANU Bachelor of Laws (Hons) student and ANU Sport Athlete Support recipient, Romola Davenport.
Awarded last year's ACT Bar Association Prize for Evidence, Romola also won two gold medals for Australia as part of the Women's Quadruple Scull and Lightweight Women’s Double Scull at the 2017 Trans-Tasman Regatta in New Zealand. She shared her thoughts on the importance of IP law in sport:
"World Intellectual Property Day is important to me because IP influences our everyday lives in so many different ways. Through studying IP this past semester, I have just begun to understand the many applications of IP law, including in sport.
"As a competitive rower, this year’s theme is important to me because IP is a crucial part of sport as we know it - from industrial IP rights, which encourage innovation and new technology, to branding and sponsorship which help athletes financially, IP plays an important role in helping athletes to go 'faster, stronger, higher'.
"New technologies are a huge part of rowing - not just boats and oars, but smart technology, GPS units, and other innovations in sports physiology which provide accurate data to help athletes to achieve their personal best. Protecting creators' rights through IP ensures that people will continue to innovate and find new ways to reach for gold."