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Trade Marks
Trade marks in cycling
Chris Baxter
Chris Baxter

An important way of protecting your brand is through obtaining registration of your trade mark. The exclusive rights that this provides, assists in safeguarding the value of your brand and goodwill, and allows you greater freedom to advertise/promote your brand.

There is no doubt these days that advertising and sponsorships of brands and sports go hand-in-hand. It is a fantastic way for a brand owner to advertise and build goodwill for itself. Sponsorships reach the full spectrum of sports from the local football, cricket, tennis, etc. clubs through to major, global sporting events like the Olympics, the soccer World Cup and cycling events including Le Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and the Tour Down Under.

Branding in cycling

Le Tour de France is a good example of the importance of sponsorships to sport, as well as the benefit provided to the brands that sponsor them. This famous race had its humble beginnings as a way to increase circulation of a French newspaper in the early 1900s, and is now one of the most watched sporting events each year, available for viewing in almost every country around the globe. As spectators line the routes or watch the television broadcast without charge, this great spectacle is financially supported by advertising/sponsorships and television broadcasting rights. A small percentage of its income is also generated through city fees paid in exchange for the race passing through a town, given the route of the race changes every year.

The advertising and sponsorships cover a wide range of parts of the race, including in relation to the:

  • teams – each of the professional teams that take part in the race have various sponsors, with their names/logos viewable on the rider’s clothing and equipment, as well as on the support vehicles;
  • four special jerseys – yellow (the overall leader), green (best sprinter), polka dot (best climber) and white (best young rider);
  • neutral support vehicles of the race that assist with spare wheels and drinks when a rider’s team-support is unable to reach them;
  • official timekeepers of the race; and
  • “publicity caravan” – a procession of hundreds of vehicles that are ahead of each stage of the race and hand out a variety of merchandise to spectators as it passes by.

There is a very high value in the exposure of any brand associated with any sponsor’s investment in this prestigious race and in sporting events in general. So much so that late last year a professional cyclist was caught on video at a public event riding the bicycle of the team he was to transfer to for the 2022 season, and subsequently his now previous team moved to immediately end his contract with them. This shows the importance of the reputation and goodwill of a brand, which is underpinned by its trade mark.

Moreover, with the popularity of cycling now becoming very prevalent in the online space, including the ability to turn your home-trainer set up into a virtual ride alongside people from all around the word, bike brands are also seeking registered protection of their trade marks for virtual goods and services.It is important to consider seeking protection for the full range of goods and services offered by your brand in order to ensure that any investment you make will reward your business and reputation. For assistance in doing so, please feel free to contact me on +61 (3) 9020 3142 or another member of the Baxter IP team.

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About the author
Chris Baxter
Managing Director, Patent & Trade Mark Attorney
Chris Baxter is a Sydney patent and trade mark attorney specialising in software patents, computer patents, medical device patents and engineering patents.

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