Worldwide passion and responsible for mobilizing thousands of fans around the globe, football is also related to intellectual and industrial property. In addition to club brands and player image rights, creations that optimize and facilitate sport can also be patented.
An example is the dispute between Spuni Comércio de Produtos Esportivos, a company owned by the Brazilian Heine Allemagne, which in October 2000 filed for a patent on the spray foam used by the referees to mark the 9m15 distance between the barrier and the ball in charges of lack, and FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football.
The application was only analyzed by the INPI, the body responsible for Brazilian industrial properties, in 2008, and the patent application was approved and granted in June 2009. During this period, Spuni also filed for patent in other countries, achieving the patent recognition in more than 44 nations.
In 2012, the aerosol was approved by FIFA and its use was included in the rules of the game, beginning to be applied in official competitions of the entity, like the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, Heine says that FIFA’s official acquisition proposal for the patent was eight times less than the previously agreed, of US$ 40 million, and in 2015 the company started calling on spray producers from around the world to offer the technology he has created.
In 2017, after failed negotiation attempts, Spuni decided to sue FIFA in court, and the process continues. While Heine tries to prove that FIFA agreed to pay the US$ 40 million initially and did not comply with the agreement, the top football entity does not recognize the claim and seeks the nullity of the patent based on Article 13 of the Industrial Property Law.
In February of this year, INPI issued an opinion giving FIFA reason, but Spuni’s defense alleges that, in 2016, the agency had already rejected a nullity request filed by other parties against the patent of the marker spray registered by Spuni. As the legal dispute continues, worldwide professionals of the industrial property market look at the case as an example of complications that can occur in the registration of patents and inventions.
Pereira Bertozzi IP office group, with three decades of experience, knows the seriousness that involves all the processes of registering patents. We are members of the International Trademark Association (INTA), as well as the Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property (ABPI) and the Brazilian Association of the Industrial Property Agents (ABAPI). PB also has customers across the globe and is constantly updated on any changes in intellectual property laws, thus seeking to offer the best service to our customers.
Photo: FIFA official website