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Protect your intellectual property rights for an easy hole-in-one

6th Feb 2024 | Commercial Law | Intellectual Property
Close up of a golf ball about to go in the hole with a golf player in the background

In light of Nike and Tiger Woods’ partnership coming to an end, Tom Justice, associate solicitor in our commercial team, discusses intellectual property rights and their importance.


Nike and Tiger Woods have announced the end of one of the most famous, and successful, commercial partnerships of all time.

So, what can we learn from Tiger Woods? Aside from pro tips like “we should make 1000 contacts with a golf club before each tournament” (who has time for that?) or getting away with a cool nickname like “Tiger” when your real name is Eldrick.  

Fortunately for Tiger, he owns all the intellectual property rights in his “TW” logo, which will give him significant leverage in negotiating any future partnerships or the ability to start his own company to commercialise his brand if he so chooses.

Whilst we can’t all be golf professionals with multi-million-pound partnership deals, we can follow Tiger’s lead by protecting our intellectual property to maximise our business’ success.

In fact, the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s latest report has established a strong link between a start-up’s investment in the protection of its IPR and its success in a number of different areas.

What are intellectual property rights and why are they important for businesses?

‘Intellectual property’ is the term used to describe a range of rights attaching to certain types of ideas or information and their expression.

Intellectual property rights fall into two categories; registered rights and unregistered rights. Certain types only exist when they are registered (such as patents) and others come into existence automatically (such as copyright or unregistered trade marks).

Ultimately, a business’ intellectual property is likely to be one of its most valuable assets and, like any asset, it needs to be protected.

Understanding what intellectual property your business has and ensuring it is protected from an early stage can help you attract investment, gain a competitive advantage, and increase your company’s valuation.

And if you don’t believe us…

What did the EUIPO’s study find?

Here are just a few of the statistics that caught our attention:

  1. Startups with patents and trademarks are (at least!) ten times more likely to receive early-stage funding than startups that have not invested in protecting their intellectual property.
  2. Investors are three times more likely to have a successful exit with a startup that has intellectual property protection already in place.  
  3. Patents increase a startup’s valuation, on average by 30%, in comparison to those without patents.

Where do I start?

We thought you would never ask.

Our IP Health Check is designed to help you uncover your IP’s potential and vulnerabilities, giving you not only peace of mind but also information and advice you can use to build your IP strategy for future growth. We’ll leave the golf tips to Tiger.

For further information on commercialising your intellectual property assets, booking a free one-hour IP health check consultation or if you are unsure whether your intellectual property rights are adequately protected, contact Tom Justice using [email protected] or 0191 211 7913.

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