The Best of the World Cup: Patent Data from the World’s Top Soccer Brands
English soccer icon Michael Owen once accurately stated that “there’s noting quite like a World Cup.” After all, the World Cup is the most viewed sporting event in the world. In 2014, the World Cup drew a cumulative television audience of 3.5 billion viewers, which, when compared to the 2 billion viewers who tuned in for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, really puts into perspective how great a spectacle the World cup actually is. Now, with the 2018 World Cup underway in Russia, the world’s energy and excitement is palpable as 32 qualifying teams are slowly stripped back to one remaining world champion. Even in the United States, where the national team did not make this year’s cut, fans are waking up early to watch and cheer for the best teams on the planet. Although soccer is not always perceived as being very popular in the U.S., it is the third most popular sport in the country. For that reason, protecting soccer-related intellectual property in the United States is not taken lightly by the world’s top soccer brands. A review of patent data shows how the top three soccer brands have fared against with the USPTO.
Having filed over 340 patent applications with the USPTO, Adidas – the world’s biggest soccer brand and World Cup sponsor – seems to have patent prosecution in the United States all figured out. Adidas currently maintains an allowance rate of 94.4 percent (allowing only 11 of their non-pending patent applications to go abandoned), and currently has 33 patent records on file with the USPTO that mention “soccer” in their title, abstract, or claims with LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions.
Adidas: Top 5 USPTO Art Units
- Art Unit 3765 Textiles: Manufacturing (123 applications)
- Art Unit 3764 Exercise Devices (36 applications)
- Art Unit 3714 Amusement Devices: Toys (11 applications)
- Art Unit 2872 Optics: Eye Examining, Vision Testing and Correcting (10 applications)
- Art Unit 1742 Plastic and Nonmetallic Article Shaping or Treating: Processes (10 applications)
With over ten times more USPTO patent filings than Adidas, Nike has managed to obtain patents for 87 percent of its non-pending patent applications. Averaging just over three years in prosecution, the American company and second largest soccer brand, has filed over 3,400 USPTO patent applications to date – 77 of which use the term “soccer” in their title, abstract, or claims. The company’s most recently-protected soccer ball is titled “Soccer Ball with Motion Graphic” (Patent No. 9,539,472), which was patented on January 10, 2017 and includes a unique design intended to help perceive ball rotation during play.
Nike: Top 5 USPTO Art Units
- Art Unit 3765 Textiles: Manufacturing (1539 applications)
- Art Unit 3711 Games Using Tangible Projectile (286 applications)
- Art Unit 3728 Special Receptacle or Package (208 applications)
- Art Unit 3764 Exercise Devices (102 applications)
- Art Unit 1742 Plastic and Nonmetallic Article Shaping or Treating: Processes (50 applications)
Compared to Adidas and Nike, Puma’s interaction with the USPTO is minimal. Having filed only 48 USPTO patent applications, the world’s third largest soccer brand has maintained a 64.1 percent allowance rate – letting 14 of its total patent applications go abandoned while nine are currently pending.
Puma: Top 5 USPTO Art Units
- Art Unit 3765 Textiles: Manufacturing (34 applications)
- Art Unit 2655 Dynamic Information Storage or Retrieval (2 applications)
- Art Unit 3728 Special Receptacle or Package (2 applications)
- Art Unit 3677 Expanded, Threaded, Driven, Headed,
- Tool-Deformed, or Locked-Threaded Fastener (1 application)
- Art Unit 3711 Games Using Tangible Projectile (1 application)
Patent statistics on soccer brands were provided by LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® and patent searches were completed by LexisNexis TotalPatent One®. PatentAdvisor™ analyzes USPTO patent data to help professionals prosecute more efficiently and effectively. The intuitive TotalPatent One® patent search platform simplifies global and local patent searches. PatentAdvisor brings more transparency and predictability to the patent prosecution process.
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