Changes to state and federal law have greatly expanded the definition of a professional athlete. While this term traditionally meant that a professional was someone who played under contract for an established sports league, the recent implementation of the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules under NCAA guidance now means that even college athletes can earn money through sponsorships.
This changing landscape means that athletes, sponsors, and even broadcasting teams may require legal help to navigate this business structure. A West Palm sports lawyer is here to provide support. Our tenacious entertainment attorneys could explain how the new laws govern interactions between athletes and business entities, help parties protect their intellectual property rights, and negotiate contracts for their services. With our assistance, you can navigate the difficult maze of legal challenges that make up the sports world.
When most people think about intellectual property, they imagine inventors seeking a patent for a new product or a novelist registering a copyright. However, intellectual property also covers original works of art and symbols that allow the public to quickly recognize a company or brand.
The need to protect intellectual property rights can extend to athletes, sponsors, broadcasters, and even entire professional leagues. For example, an athlete may want to evaluate if they can trademark a brand of apparel for which they have licensed out their likeness. At the same time, the sponsor will want to seek out copyright protection for their videos that resulted from an advertisement campaign.
A West Palm sports law attorney could help protect these valuable assets and determine if a proposed project is eligible for intellectual property protection. They could then assist in registering with the United States Copyright Office or the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Finally, a lawyer could protect intellectual property through the creation of cease-and-desist letters or even full lawsuits that demand infringers stop their illegal use of a sports trademark or an athlete’s likeness.
Obtaining intellectual property protection is only one aspect of sports law to consider. It is just as important to effectively gain the exposure needed to make that investment worthwhile. A sports lawyer in West Palm could represent parties in the negotiation and creation of licensing agreements. Depending on a party’s specific role in the sports world, this can take on many forms.
For example, an athlete may be looking to monetize their excellence on the field or court into a sponsorship deal. An attorney could help negotiate these deals and push for intellectual property rights concerning the ownership of the resulting photos and videos.
At the same time, a lawyer could represent sponsors looking to tap into the popular college sports market. The new NIL laws now allow college athletes to sponsor products, often with just as much exposure as professional sports figures.
Finally, new and emerging sports leagues and associations may be looking for greater exposure to a potential audience. A lawyer has the skills to negotiate broadcasting rights in traditional television and modern online mediums, and can even secure deals for venue concessions and ticket sales.
The world of sports and athletics raises many complex and vital questions about intellectual property rights and business contracts. All parties, from athletes, to sponsors, to league ownership, need to know how to protect themselves from infringement so that their business and their brand can grow.
Your best option is to hire a West Palm sports lawyer to set you up for success. Our attorneys at Lomnitzer Law use our knowledge and resources to explain the current state of sports law, evaluate your eligibility for intellectual property protection, and put sponsorships and business contracts into writing so that all parties are aware of their obligations. Speak with us now to discover more about how we can help.