How To Market the World Cup 2022 Without Violating FIFA’s Intellectual Property

Whether you’re a fan of soccer or not, there’s no escaping the world cup. At some point or another, either in everyday conversation or on social media, you’re bound to hear about it somewhere. Even if you don’t understand what goes on during a match, you might find yourself joining a watch party at your local restaurant or bar with friends.

If you’re a business owner, it makes sense to adapt your marketing during this dynamic time, and we highly recommend doing so. You don’t necessarily have to have a sports brand or sports-related company – all kinds of companies can take part.

But, before you begin strategizing for your campaign, it’s important to note that this year’s host introduced new intellectual property regulations to further protect the IP rights of FIFA and its official partners. Although it may sound complicated, doing your due diligence can help you to avoid getting into major legal trouble.

How can you implement the World Cup into your marketing without infringing FIFA’s intellectual property? Let’s get into it.

Is The World Cup Copyrighted?

Make sure you understand what you can and cannot use or do before launching your marketing campaign. Keep in mind that elements (such as mascots, colors and logos) of both FIFA and the Qatar World Cup are protected by copyright. Commercial use of them is only permitted by the owners of the rights and their authorized business partners, for example, the Federation or the event’s official sponsors. 

The complete list is available in FIFA’s official Media and Marketing Regulations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. These are some of the most common protected elements (also known as “Competition Marks”) that you might be surprised to learn about:

  • “FIFA World Cup™”
  • “World Cup”
  • Qatar 2022™
  • The official FIFA World Cup™ trophy, emblem, and mascot

Additionally, we strongly suggest that you avoid featuring any national team in your marketing, including your country’s. There’s no problem using national flags but stay away from team shields, uniforms, and any images of the players. To do so requires getting prior authorization, without which there may be legal consequences. 

It’s best to avoid using these elements in your campaign rather than receive a court order. Anyone can report violations, and both FIFA and participating teams have the right to take legal action. Infringements of intellectual property can result in substantial damages, namely trademark infringements, potential criminal charges, or civil penalties.

If you’re not sure whether or not you can use a component, ask yourself if the content you’re creating with it implies that you’re an event partner or sponsor. If it does, you’re better off not including it.

How To Use The World Cup In Your Marketing

However, these restrictions don’t mean you can’t take part in the excitement at all. It’s just a matter of getting creative. Remember, though, it’s important that your content is presented in a way that’s consistent with your brand. Otherwise, it’s very easy for your marketing to look forced and unnatural, causing customers to become confused and possibly lose trust and interest in your product or service.

There are a lot of companies that will run these kinds of campaigns, so making yours stand out is key. Here are some marketing ideas you can use without violating FIFA’s intellectual property:

Include the participating teams: 

You can decorate your establishment with flags, serve cocktails inspired by participating countries, or feature products from participating countries.

Instagram stories 

Create stories with quizzes about the teams, hold polls on who they think is the best player, or make informative stories with fun facts about the nations taking part.

Use images and verbiage related to soccer

Emojis or photos of soccer balls, fields, and goals can be used on your homepage, advertising banners, and social media. Terms such as “Goal!” Or “red card” can be part of advertising copy like article titles, newsletter subject lines, or social media captions.

Run a special promotion

Sports stores can offer promotions on soccer-related items. Restaurants can offer a national dish from a playing team. Don’t forget social media. For example, depending on your brand, you can partner with another company in the sports industry to host a giveaway on Instagram.

If You Need a Consulting Regarding Marketing For the World Cup, Sanchelima & Associates Can Help

Sanchelima & Associates, P.A. is one of the leading intellectual property law firms in South Florida. With over 40 years of experience, we have represented the IP interests of a wide array of businesses in the US and abroad, including Fortune 500 companies. Whether you need a consultation or prosecution of a patent, trademark, or copyright, we can protect your business’s interests. 

Contact us to book your consultation!

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