|'If the sport of horse racing does not take action to protect its intellectual property, it could face decline as the value of its products slips across the world, “ was the verdict on Wednesday by Alan Marzelli, president of the Jockey Club and Chairman of Equibase, at the Annual Symposium of Racing in Tuscon, Arizona. Intellectual property is an umbrella term referring to the copyright of ideas, trademarks and patents – broadly any idea that has some value in the market place. It is racing’s failure to protect itself from the internet invasion that, Marzelli feels, could be damaging for the sport.|
Randy Foster of the intellectual property group of the Northwest-based Stoel Rives law firm helped clarify the situation to the Thoroughbred Times: “In the past, racing could easily control its property since almost all use was done at racetracks, from the distribution of handicapping information, to wagering, to the actual racing events
'With the rise of simulcasting, which now accounts for 86% of wagering, and Internet gambling sites, the various elements of racing's intellectual property have become 'unbundled.' Data can be retrieved from many sources, and thus racing leaders must consider recasting their economic models.”
The upshot is that businesses need to make sure they control their ideas in a legally protected and guard them fiercely through copyrights and carefully worded contracts. “In today's world, the chief economic opportunity for racing appears to be through wagering and not the racing product itself, somewhat like the fact that selling ink for printers is more lucrative than producing and selling printers,” Foster added.