College Athletes in Business - What is Intellectual Property

Written by Kassandra Ramsey, Esq.

· College basketball,College Football,College Athlete NIL,Name Image Likeness,NIL

College athletics has entered the Name, Image, and Likeness Era. A multitude of business opportunities have become available  for college athletes. Many college athletes have begun to build brands. Many college athletes have created logos and began selling apparel bearing the logos.  For example, Wisconsin Badgers quarterback, Graham Mertz unveiled his own trademarked logo a few days before the new NIL rules went into effect.  

Similarly, Iowa Men's Basketball player,  Jordan Bohannon began selling his own apparel on July 1, 2021, the day that several NIL laws went into effect. 

As college athletes seek more NIL opportunities, they should have a basic understanding of what intellectual property is.  

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property are creations of the mind. Examples of intellectual property include inventions, literary and artistic works, brand names, and symbols and logos.  There are four types of intellectual property.  Those four types are copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret. A copyright protects original works of authorship such as books and music.  Patent protects inventions. Trade secret provides intellectual property rights on confidential information that may be sold or licensed. Lastly, trademark  protects brand names and logos used on goods or services. It is imperative that college athletes understand these concepts and how to protect their intellectual property. 

The information in this article is not legal advice and it does not establish a lawyer client relationship. The purpose of this article is to be informational. For more information on how to prepare for NIL opportunities download my free e-book " A College Athlete's Guide to Preparing for Name, Image, and Likeness." Also, for more on college athletes' name, image, and likeness rights follow me on Twitter @esquire_coach and on Instagram @the_esquirecoach. To receive updates from The Esquire Coach Blog directly to your email please subscribe below.