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Sporty Solutionz claims ownership of IBL’s IP rights, moves Delhi HC

NEW DELHI: Even as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has announced the second season of the Indian Badminton League (IBL), sports media company Sporty Solutionz has laid claim to the intellectual property (IP) rights to the league, which was launched in 2013.

The company has moved a fresh petition in the Delhi High Court to restrict other parties (read BAI) from using the name, logo, title or any IP associated with Brand IBL.

Sporty Solutionz, which was the commercial partner of IBL until its contract was terminated by BAI, claims that it has invested heavily to deliver a highly successful first season and create the IBL brand. It has pleaded in the court for protection of its IP rights.

“We, on behalf of our clients Sporty Solutionz, have applied for the protection of intellectual property rights of our clients. We have invested heavily to build Brand IBL. This is also associated with our goodwill. We have pleaded in the High Court of Delhi to restrict any other party from using the name, logo, title or any IP associated with Brand Indian Badminton League or IBL,” said Sporty Solutionz counsel Sanjeev Kumar.

The first edition of the IBL took place from 14 to 31 August 2013 in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Pune.

The BAI had recently appointed former Ten Sports CEO Atul Pande’s sports management and marketing firm SportzLive as its official marketing and sponsorship partner for the upcoming season of the IBL.

Pande is also the media advisor for the league working with Indian and global broadcasters and digital media companies to help maximise the product delivery and reach along with monetisation options for the event.

Season 2 of the IBL will take place from 2 to 17 January 2016, featuring six teams. The league carries prize money of $1 million.

Earlier, the Delhi HC had dismissed Sporty Solutionz’s petition challenging the BAI’s decision to terminate the contract.

The BAI had contended that the association had issued a notice to Sporty Solutionz on 21 April 2015 terminating the contract for the IBL. It had also informed the HC that the original schedule for the second season has lapsed and the sports media company is yet to finalise any plans for the same.

In view of the matter, the HC said that it cannot grant any of the interim reliefs prayed for at this stage including a direction restraining the BAI from holding the second season of the badminton league. However, it had clarified that the contentions of the parties are left open for discussion in the appropriate forum.