Australia: There's no business like snow business! Sochi learns lessons from Vancouver

Sports, Media and Entertainment Intelligence - July 2013
Last Updated: 16 July 2013

In case of unseasonably warm weather Sochi –site of the 2014 Winter Olympics next February and historically known as the Caucasian Riviera – is storing nearly half a million tons of snow.

Recent Winter Games around the world, including the most recent Games in Vancouver, have been plagued by unseasonably warm weather. Sochi is in a subtropical zone, with normal winter temperatures well above freezing. Even the nearby mountain region, site of the alpine events, is at a relatively low altitude and has experienced warm weather and snow shortages in the recent past, including this past winter, when rain and a lack of snow forced the cancellation of some alpine World Cup test events.

Organizers first tested the idea of storing snow three years ago by bulldozing it into shallow ravines and then covering the snow with sawdust; however, this proved unsatisfactory. Organizers are now plowing snow into storage areas and then covering it with "snow blankets" made of special insulated fabric to deflect the sun's rays.

In the event it is needed, the stored snow will be used to create a base which would then be supplemented with conventional manufactured snow.

Gareth Bale files trade mark application for his "Eleven of Hearts" celebration

Tottenham and Wales footballer Gareth Bale has filed an application to register a trade mark in respect of his goal celebration - a heart-shaped hand gesture - and revealed plans to use it as a logo on a range of clothes and footwear.

The Stellar Group Limited, which represents Bale, filed an application with the UK Intellectual Property Office on 26 March this year for the "Eleven of Hearts" and a heart-shaped logo with his jersey number (11) in the middle (see below). The application covers jewellery, leather goods, clothing, footwear and headgear. According to Nigel Currie, Director of Sports Marketing at brandRapport, "The possibilities are huge for Gareth Bale...a third of his overall income could be made from his image rights, potentially up to £3 million a year."

A number of people have observed, however, that Bale is not the only player to use this type of gesture. For example, Chelsea midfielder Oscar has also reportedly used it after scoring. This point might raise interesting IP questions, such as whether there can be copyright in a goal celebration (presumably there could, given that a "work of dance or mime" can be protected, although the key issue would be whether the celebration was sufficiently original to qualify, which appears unlikely for Bale's gesture).

Bale is by no means the first to seek trade mark protection for aspects of his persona. This is an area where some creativity is required, given the patchy protection for personality and image rights around the world (and general lack of such protection in the UK). Numerous sports players have registered their names as trade marks. Lionel Messi successfully applied to register a logo of his own as a trade mark in 2011 (see below). Usain Bolt has been particularly active in this area, in recent months registering his "Lightning Bolt" pose and his "to di world" slogan.

Bale continues to build his brand around the heart logo, which could add to his various existing income streams, such as a £2 million tie-up with Adidas, and recent signing as a TV pundit for BT for next season.

© DLA Piper

This publication is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be, and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this publication.


DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com

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