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F1 has long been established as the benchmark for zealous enforcement of intellectual property rights, but a new challenger is coming up on the inside.
For the German Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg had planned to use a specially designed helmet commemorating Germany's triumph in last weekend's World Cup final.
The top panel of the helmet was to feature the colours of the German flag with a large image of the World Cup Trophy and four stars, one for each of his country's tournament wins.
But football's governing body FIFA was displeased at its intellectual property (the image of the trophy) being used, and Rosberg has been forced to alter the design. In a statement to The Independent, a FIFA spokesman said:
FIFA is obliged to take action against any unauthorised reproduction of its intellectual property in a commercial context.
If FIFA would not follow up on any potential infringements of its intellectual property, it would risk losing its legal right and title to such works, thereby endangering the foundation of its commercial programme which is driven primarily by the access to and usage of our brand marks, including the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
We appreciate Nico Rosberg’s desire to congratulate the German team and have therefore been in discussions with the Rosberg team to attempt to find a solution, whereby he is still able to show his support for Germany without using FIFA intellectual property in a commercial context.
FIFA were so unhappy about it, they even went so far as to have the image removed from Rosberg's original "here's my new helmet" tweet.
But they might have let it go entirely, had it not been for the extremely lucrative sponsorship agreement between FIFA and Hyundai. Per IEG, the Korean car-maker pays an annual fee of between $24 and $44 million for its status as a top-tier partner.
It goes without saying they wouldn't exactly be ecstatic to see rival Mercedes grab some free association with the World Cup, and German publication Auto Motor Und Sport (h/t grandprix.com) reported they were behind the complaint.