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How to Value a Celebrity Athlete's Right of Publicity

Beyond the Field of Play:
Analyzing and Valuing a Celebrity Athlete's Rights of Publicity

By CONSOR Intellectual Asset Management

The Right of Publicity (ROP) is "the inherent right of every human being to control the commercial use of his or her identity." (Thomas McCarthy, Rights of Publicity and Privacy, 1:3)

However, unlike patent,trademark, and copyright law, ROP is governed by a patchwork of state statutes and common-law decisions, rather than by a single federal statute (Thomas McCarthy, Rights of Publicity and Privacy, 6:3, 6:8); and unlike trade secret law, ROP is not the subject of a uniform state law adopted in the vast majority of states.( Roger M. Milgram, Milgram on Trade Secrets 1.01[2][b]) As with the analysis of other intellectual property assets, ROP valuations need to consider the unique characteristics of the subject asset and the context of the valuation assignment.

Typically, ROP valuation assignments are needed for one of three reasons: when negotiating a transaction (such as endorsements and licensing); calculating infringement damages for ROP violations; or valuing celebrity estates and trusts. Each ROP asset is unique and each of these contexts varies, posing some unique challenges for reasonable analyses of ROP assets.

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