Sports Law Conference in South Africa: Intellectual Property Rights and the FIFA World Cup 2010, Durban, 20-22 November 2007

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A Regional Conference, hosted by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) of the Republic of South Africa in collaboration with the Faculty of Law of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, was held in Durban, South Africa, on 20--22 November, 2007.

The Conference dealt with a wide range of intellectual property legal issues in relation to sport in the run up to the hosting of the next FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 2010. The Conference covered the role, protection, management and enforcement of a wide range of intellectual property rights in sport, including athletes' image rights and the important topic of sports broadcasting rights in the context of the sports broadcasting industry in South Africa. More than 150 delegates drawn from South Africa and neighbouring countries attended this event, which, on the legal side, was organised by Andre Louw, Law Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College, Durban.

Amongst the distinguished speakers was the Director General of the DTI, Mr Tshediso Matona, who spoke about the importance of the enforcement of intellectual property rights generally and tackling the growing problem in South Africa and also in the Region of counterfeit goods, particularly in the context of 2010; and the International Sports Lawyer, Prof Ian Blackshaw, who gave the Keynote Address on 'The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Sport'. In his Address, Prof Blackshaw pointed out the importance of the creative use of trademarks, copyright, registered designs and 'passing off '/'unfair competition' in protecting major sports events, without which such events could not be held and commercialised, thereby providing the mega funding required for the practice of world sport in general and the world's favourite sport, association football, in particular. And he illustrated his theme with a hypothetical case study in which he demonstrated how a prima facie generic concept/idea for an international sporting event could be transformed into a species of legally protectable property. …