World IP Day 2019 was hosted at Rob Roy’s Innevation Center this past week for the fourth year in a row. In collaboration with the UNLV Office of Economic Development, the United States Patent & Trademark Office and Ballard Spahr LLP, this event took a deep dive into the role that intellectual property plays in encouraging innovation. Historically, the law has always lagged behind business, and business has always lagged behind technology. “What we are seeing is continual expansion being driven by the advantage of new technologies which are protected by intellectual property, but it’s changing the business which in turn requires the law to change,” said Mark Tratos, Founding Shareholder at Greenberg Taurig LLP.
This year’s World IP Day theme was ‘Reach for Gold – IP and Sports’. Multiple panels throughout the afternoon focused on athletic care, emerging technologies in sports, intellectual property and the law, as well as research and development. Duncan French, VP of Performance at UFC, discussed his experiences working at the UFC Performance Institute where the vision is to become a global leader in human performance and the standard-bearer for health and well-being. Mr. French continued to share that one of the challenges at UFC is that the sport is only 25 years old professionally, so everything they are doing is innovative because there’s very little historical data or insight around the sport of mixed martial arts.
The event’s keynote speaker was Certified Athletic Trainer Scott Pensivy, who was also accompanied by Washington Wizards basketball player, Troy Brown. They spoke about the human performance innovations that are occurring in physical therapy and how they use intellectual property to improve athletic recovery and care. From an athlete’s perspective, Troy Brown shared his experiences using some of the technologies that are readily available to collegiate and professional players today. “The [innovative] technologies I use for recovery are not only helping my overall health and well-being, but they’re helping me take my game to the next level as a professional athlete,” said Mr. Brown.
New innovations have truly revolutionized sports. From the athletic shoe to protective helmets, and materials like VELCRO® and LYCRA®, athletes have seen an improvement in speed, accuracy, and safety. This year’s World IP Day featured some of the cutting-edge technologies that continue to be applied in sports, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality. These types of technologies will play an even bigger role in the future, while also serving as a reminder of the inspiring power of innovation and intellectual property.