The University of Ghana on on Friday April 26, 2109, joined the rest of the world in celebrating the World Intellectual Property Day.
The celebration, which was put together by the Office of Research, Innovation and Development in collaboration with the Sports Directorate and the Department of Physical Education and Sports of the University was mainly aimed at educating the public on intellectual property in relation to the sporting world.
The theme for the celebration “reach for gold, intellectual property and sports” was expanded on by the Director of the Sports Directorate, Dr. Bella Bello Bitugu.
He gave a brief overview of how intellectual property intertwined with sports and how beneficial it could be to the sporting world if properly utilized.
Some final year Sports Study students of the University of Ghana were on hand to educate the public on the economic value that is placed on sports due to intellectual property.
They stated that the economic value of sports keeps on growing and can be attributed to the intellectual property rights which are used as marketing tools for sporting events, athletes, creative performances, clubs or teams and merchandise.
Prof. Austin Luguterah of the Department of Physical Education and Sports further enhanced his student’s remarks speaking about patenting, branding and copyright.
“Meanwhile we have issues of what we call character merchandising, where companies take the character of a person and use it.
That is where we have people exploiting the sports characters.This is where a particular nature of a person like Michael Jordan is taken.
A company like Nike isn’t taking the skill of Michael Jordan but only the character. Michael Jordan could have patented the number 23 because whiles he was a player that was his signature number, but when you miss the opportunity, you miss it and that is the issue. “
Prof. Luguterah, however, stated that in some countries like India there are acts that supports sportsmen to patent names and numbers citing an example of cricket players.
The guest speaker at the programme, Mr. Yaw Sakyi Afari who is the managing director of Diaspora TV, in his speech, echoed the fact that trademarks are key when it comes to sports intellectual property.
Addressing how sportsmen can make money off their skills and claim intellectual property, he revealed that these sportsmen can partner with the media or production houses before they can monetize their images when they attract the interest of some companies who may like to use them.
”David West or Lebron James cannot go and pick a full NBA game because he played in that game and say I’m going to sell it, he’ll be sued. That is not his intellectual property. But I’m in that game, yes you’re in it but you didn’t create the platform. Yes, your skill is in there but that’s not for you”
Mr. Yaw Sakyi further said schools can be able to make money to support sports development if they are able to create some materials based on their sports people or achievements and claim intellectual property over them.
Story by: KwamenaAfful Cleland/Univers Sports/universnewsroom.com