February 14, 2014

Brazil’s Opportunity to Show Good Sportsmanship in IP

By Kelly Anderson (Originally posted on IP Delivers)

While the snowboards, bobsleds, and skis are dominating the courses in Sochi, we here at IP Delivers are in the spirit of looking forward to other upcoming major global sporting events: the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both of which will be in Brazil. Hosting the games is not only an honor but can also provide a major boost to the country’s economy. South Africa, the previous host of the World Cup, generated $200 million in ad revenues alone during the games, pulling the country out of a recession and stimulating double digit economic growth.

However, with great hospitality comes great responsibility. Host countries are the first line of defense to protect the safety of visitors, consumers, and the business climate for enterprises and associations involved with the games. Counterfeiters present a serious threat to the vast economic benefits that come with hosting global sporting events. Those profiting from illicit goods robs the host nation and local and international businesses of revenue. The sale of official goods and tickets, through licensed retailers, both provide a boon for the local economy and safeguard consumers from the unnecessary hazards of fake gear.

Suffice to say federal law enforcement face an uphill battle to protect both the local economy and consumers from illicit goods. With several major global sporting events coming up, it begs the question: how will Brazil prepare its business climate for the international attention that will inevitably come with the honor of hosting the games?

The GIPC recently released a scorecard of its own—the 2014 International IP Index, Charting the Course—giving Brazil and 24 other countries marks on how they do on patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and ratification of international treaties. Ultimately, the GIPC Index provides a roadmap for policymakers and industry around the world – including Brazil – improve the country’s IP protections. While Brazil has made some progress in terms of IP protections, some challenges remain for Brazil to strengthen their IP environment.

However, the good news is Brazil has taken some steps to combat IP crimes. The National Council Against Piracy and Intellectual Property Crimes currently has an initiative, “City Free of Piracy,” which seeks to provide local law enforcement with the proper mechanisms and incentives to combat IP theft. This program and similar initiatives provide enforcement officials and industry with the opportunity to work together to ensure that the trademarks on the sleeves on our favorite soccer players or world-class Olympians are properly protected.

All athletic events should be about the competition – the skill of the players, the enthusiasm of the fans, and the overall love of the game. In order to ensure that fans and players can enjoy the games, industry and the government should work together to strengthen enforcement efforts against counterfeit goods so both the Brazilian economy and fans can benefit from the games.

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