Baseline Ventures sends legal notices to 20 firms for unauthorised use of PV Sindhu’s image

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on August 06, 2021

Seeks ₹5 crore in damages for violation of IP and privacy rights

Baseline Ventures, the sports management agency that manages commercial deals of P V Sindhu, has sent legal notices to over 20 companies for leveraging on the ace badminton player’s recent success, especially on digital platforms, without consent. After Sindhu’s bronze medal win at the Olympic Games, many companies used moment marketing strategies to capitalise on the social media buzz through posts that used her name or images along with their brand names or logos.

The sports management firm said that notices have been sent to companies such as Perfetti Van Melle, Pan Bahar, Eureka Forbes, Vodafone Idea and MG Motor besides various banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, UCO Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Fino Payments Bank and Bank of Maharashtra among others.

The legal notice, which is seeking damages to the tune of ₹5 crore, has alleged that these companies illicitly used Sindhu’s name and image without her consent to gain public attention in violation of her intellectual property and privacy rights. They have now been asked to take down such social media posts and desist from using her name, imagery and attributes in the future.

Also read: Olympics buzz fetches brand deals for sports stars

Yashwanth Biyyala, Director-Talent and Partnerships, Baseline Ventures said brands cannot use anyone’s name, imagery or likeness without their consent. “Some of these brands have disregarded potential brand association discussions in the past but suddenly now they are trying to get a piece of Sindhu’s glory through social media posts in the garb of congratulating her,” he added.

“Sindhu currently endorses 15 brands. Under the IOC regulations (Rule 40), Sindhu cannot even tag her sponsors for a period of 25 days, which is defined as the blackout period, neither can her sponsors even put up a congratulatory post. While the legitimate sponsors are following these regulations, brands who do not have any brand association contracts are in the meantime gaining by using her name or imagery on digital platforms,” Biyyala said.

Besides Sindhu, brands have been also been trying to capitalise on the success of other Indian Olympic medal winners through posts on social media platforms. This development also comes at a time when brands’ digital marketing spends have been on the rise and could mean lucrative brand deals for athletes.

Chandrima Mitra, Partner, DSK Legal said, “Endorsement deals are an important stream of revenue for celebrities including sports personalities. The only thing that endorsements use are the attributes of the celebrity. If anyone uses these attributes without authorisation then it may have adverse commercial as well as perceptional impact on the celebrity.”

Published on August 06, 2021

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