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Esports - A Competitive Arena Chock-Full of Intellectual Property


Esports or the industry of competitive, organized video gaming is here and it looks like it’s here to stay. The esports explosion, as some are calling it, is rivaling “traditional sports”, and why wouldn’t it? After all, it has all the elements of a professional sport: 1) skilled individuals/athletes; 2) organizations; 3) enthusiastic fans; and 4) organized events. Some of the biggest esports titles include League of Legends and Call of Duty, each with their respective professional leagues and esports teams.


One thing that is not similar to traditional sports, however, is the fact that the “underlying sport” (the video game) has multiple rights that accompany it. On one hand, there are copyrights (to the source code, characters, and even the underlying story of the video game), which are usually owned by the publisher. On the other hand, there are trademarks tied to the publisher and the video game (marks, slogans, symbols, among others). As with many other properties, you need permission from the owner of these intellectual property rights to use them in your event. Procuring licenses for such rights is crucial, because it makes an event look and feel official and, more importantly, helps avoid costly infringement issues.


If you are interested in organizing your own esports event, we highly recommend that you look for the publisher’s permission to use any content related to the video game.


Tell us! If you were to organize an esports event, what video games would you feature?