Posts Tagged ‘publicity rights’

Who Owns Your Poker? (Part II)

Protecting IP in Poker Pro Representation Agreements

by , Feb 8, 2011 | 5:21 am

Many of the intellectual property issues I address as a gaming attorney are in poker representation agreements. These are agreements for poker pros to play for, endorse, and advertise for various poker brands, both Internet and land-based. Substantially all of the premier Internet poker sites with which I’m familiar employ pros. Some operators ask their pros to travel the world and represent their brands in high-profile land-based games and tournaments and on television. Other pros are incentivized to play more online and have less of a profile at bricks and mortar events.

I’ve acted for both poker pros and for poker operators in drafting and negotiating these types of agreements. The back-and-forth between the parties over who gets what specific rights to certain property (e.g., to the use of a personal branded website) and for how long is fascinating. It’s also critical to building poker brands and preserving one’s rights and value in poker properties. A pro negotiating one of these agreements will often want to ensure that her post-termination copyrights and rights of use are protected. An operator or a marketing rep will also want to be clear about what’s being purchased or licensed and the rights that are available to it post-termination.

The central question for the parties will be: what kind of commercial relationship are they after? In essence, what do they want from each other? The critical question for me as a lawyer is this: based on the commercial objectives, what are the rights of the parties that are in play based on the commercial objectives? Here are some of the things that I look out for in these kinds of contracts:

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