Brand protection

Our sports brand management team includes highly regarded specialist trade mark and design lawyers across the globe. These practitioners all have vast experience of dealing with trade mark and design protection in the sports industry, from searching, clearance and strategy through to registration and enforcement, at both national level and internationally.  Protecting the goodwill and reputation sports organisations accrue in their name and brands is essential.  Registering rights in those marks puts you in the best position to maximise the value in exploiting those brands and is fundamental to protecting your brand from infringement. We work with you to ensure a dynamic portfolio that fits your changing requirements.  Whether you're a team, a sports organisation or an athlete, we're here to help.

We assist our clients in achieving the following key aims and objectives, among others:

  • auditing your trade mark and design portfolio to ensure it is fit for purpose, both in terms of your current activities and future proofing it to meet your growth plans;
  • facilitating cohesion between marketing and legal teams to ensure your brand portfolio and digital footprint work effectively together;
  • acting as a central management and administrative hub to liaise with local partners outside of the Bird & Bird network to ensure your brand remains coherent globally;
  • working with you to create a global enforcement strategy that balances legal with commercial risk – streamlining processes to make your legal budget work hardest for you;
  • when all else fails, being on hand to litigate any serious infringement that is causing damage to your intellectual property rights; and
  • specialist on-the-ground advice to support major events: ambush marketing advice, advising on local legislation to deal with counterfeit goods, and taking action against ticket touts – areas where rapid response is critical.

Case studies

British & Irish Lions: We have put in place an anti-infringement project to assist the British & Irish Lions in assessing risk in infringing activity and enforcing matters at a risk-appropriate level. Given the complex nature of the tour and the prominent attention it receives in the host country, infringements cover an array of issues including the sale of tickets and hospitality packages outside of the official travel programme, big-ticket events attempting to align their ventures with the tour, competitions offering tickets as prizes, and counterfeit merchandise.

Wembley National Stadium: We have advised this client in relation to a strategy to obtain IP rights to protect its key brand identifiers and enforcing such rights against ambush marketing and third parties seeking to take advantage of its reputation and goodwill.

Key Contact

Rebecca O’Kelly-GillardWill DellerCraig Giles and Robert Turner


Acts for an enviable client base of leading international federations, governing bodies, sports clubs and corporate entities.”

chambers, 2020