Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beating up on the little guy in Brazil

SAP, Pfizer-Teva, FIFA, Agilent: Intellectual Property

FIFA Says Brazil World Cup Soccer Trademark Abuse More Than 2010

Soccer’s governing body FIFA said it found more cases of intellectual property infringement related to next year’s World Cup in Brazil than it did a year before South Africa hosted sports’ most-watched event in 2010.

Auke-Jan Bossenbroek, FIFA’s legal counsel responsible for protecting the Zurich-based organization’s trademarks, said action has been taken in the past six months against about 100 companies that don’t have permission to use protected words or logos related to the World Cup, which kicks off in Rio de Janeiro June 12, 2014. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of Bloomberg.

Kicking Back Comments: I don't begrudge FIFA from enforcing their registered trademarks. They are property of FIFA and have every right to do so, and should for the future ability to do so.

Where I got a bit chapped was in the closing comment of the article, which states:

"Many of the cases in Brazil have been the result of local businesses not understanding the rules related to using World Cup logos, Bossenbroek said."

Now, not knowing the law is not an excuse, and I have to believe that most folks (everywhere), don't know the implications of trademark law. It does however smell a little heavy handed with a FIFA lawyer coming down on small shop owners in Brazil.

There are already wide reports of most locals not being bale to afford tickets, and FIFA has responded by providing 50K "free" tickets for use by the local folks (what actually happens, we'll see). 

I can see a similar argument here for "picking on" local shop owners for trademark violations. I'm not arguing that these are not violations, but there has to be a point of diminishing returns for FIFA. Not only is there a cost associated with finding these folks, but I also believe it to be bad form to make the guy wheeling around a trash barrel full of beer for $1 each take the photo of the FIFA World Cup(r) Trophy off his trash barrel.

It is all a bit too sterile for me. The locals are getting robbed blind ... again. Just let it go guys.

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