Naming a Man of the Match? It'll cost you
Filed under: Your Rights
So what does it mean for sport?
The rightsNaming your 'man of the match' is a fine sporting tradition. From the early days of rewarding children on the side that always comes last - to the heady heights of glorifying international stars - it's a phrase with meaning. In future, however, it could also be a phrase with a hefty price tag attached.
In 2002, a creative intellectual property rights firm called OFS Group realised that no-one had trademarked the phrase, so registered the trademark themselves. They have made a few quid by licensing it for use on bags of crisps and nuts. Now they have put it up for sale.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, there has already been a great deal of interest - from bookmakers and food and drink manufacturers - who could use the slogan and ban anyone else from copying them. Alternatively it could be bought by opportunists who could profit from penalising anyone who used the phrase without permission. Offers are expected to be on the table by Thursday.
Trademarked slogansIt's not the first time a slogan has been trademarked and used to make cash. Perhaps most controversially, in 2007 Mark Coop, a businessman from Surrey trademarked the wartime slogan, Keep Calm and Carry On, and started issuing demands for other companies to stop using it.
Celebrities have also been known to trademark their own catchphrases. Most memorably American boxing and wrestling announcer Michael Buffer trademarked 'Let's Get Ready to Rumble' in 1992, and has made more than £250 million from the rights. Even Paris Hilton is in on the act, trademarking 'That's Hot', and using it to sell fizzy wine.
What it meansThe good news is that clearly there is a limit to the interests of the trademark owners. Despite Coop's ownership of the Keep Calm and Carry On phrase, there seems to be no shortage of goods available for sale bearing the phrase. Likewise, no-one has yet been put under citizen's arrest for announcing 'That's Hot'.
The clubs and schools who want to continue rewarding those who try their hardest are highly unlikely to run into any opposition from the new owners. They are far more likely to turn their attention to the companies with existing competitions, or those who want to use it for a promotion, because this is where they can make their money.
The only major difference we are likely to see, therefore, is that pundits may need to come up with a new phrase to describe the 'Player of the Match'... until someone trademarks that of course.