Welcome to our blog for Intellectual Property Law and Practice in Latin America!
¡Bienvenidos a nuestro blog de Derecho y Práctica de la Propiedad Intelectual en Latinoamérica!
Bem-vindo ao nosso blog sobre Direito e Prática de Propriedade Intelectual na América Latina!

Thursday 10 June 2010

José Carlos Vaz e Dias

Is Football in Brazil a Sport or a Religion? None of them: It is a Serious and Profitable Business

Now, it is the time of football or to follow it under an IP perspective! Most of the headlines in Brazil have been addressing the preparation of the national team in South Africa and the “experts” started indicating their favourites for the upcoming World Cup of Football in South Africa. Who is going to win this time? Will the Uruguayans play well again, as occurred in the past? What about Argentina with Messi and Maradona? Will the English team prove that the inventers of football are also the best ones? Can the Samba Boys still dance Brazilian music like in 1970? Will Holland or Germany become a surprise? Or, the winner this time will be an African country, right?

Local people have started living football, so have I. Last night, I finished decorating the football court and the space surrounding the building where I live at Lagoa, Rio de Janeiro: official flags, signs and posters with the best football players and Zakumi (the official symbol of the South African World Cup) are already in place. Everything in green and yellow. Since I arrived from the INTA Meeting, the most important task was to organize the decoration of the football court, otherwise the kids would get mad at me. My daughter will be very happy when she arrives from school and sees that we have finished the requested decoration. At home too, my wife is happy with my cooperative behaviour: cups, plates, t-shirts, vuvuzelas (horns) on yellow and green have been bought for the gathering of my families and friends in front of the TV set.

This unique atmosphere seen each four years supports the common saying that “the most popular sport in Brazil is not football, but it is volleyball, since football is not a sport but rather a religion for the Brazilians”.

Businessmen know very well the seriousness of football for the locals and take the chance to increase their profits on every product sold in the market, as the association with the World Cup and the national team is inevitable and desirable.

Further to that, companies are already fighting for a space in the next World Cup of Football in 2014. According to the national newspaper “O GLOBO”, the fighting regarding who will promote the Brazilian national team for the next four years have begun in the marketing arena: Will Coca-Cola win the bid or will the local soft drink company Guaraná Antarctica maintain its position.

Coca-Cola needs to score to get the opportunity to explore the most important advertising instrument in Brazil: the Samba Boys. Guarana Antarctica will need to play hard, with a strong defense and fast attack. That is another World Cup, isn’t it? Yes, it is indeed.

We are all expecting that this marketing competition will be under fair rules, as FIFA and the Brazilian Federation of Football are with their eyes open, so are the local judges that are very much matured to address IP infringement and unfair competition linked to sports.

Another example of the importance of football to business has been the recent controversy involving the official football ball – Jabulani – where the main companies on sport apparel are fighting for a space in the media. Players supported by Nike and others are condemning Jabulani. Kaka and Messi have praised the ball, as they are sponsored by Adidas. Does the informal use of players to attack in the media the product of a competitor represent an unfair competition practice? Where are Adidas attorneys?

These are also the games worth watching until the next World Cup of Football. Next time will be in Brazil!

José Carlos Vaz e Dias

José Carlos Vaz e Dias