Ward and Smith, PA recently launched its Name, Image and Likeness, or “NIL” practice group.
Class Counsel are focused on assisting NIL collectives, marketing agencies, software platform providers, financial advisors and, most importantly, companies that work with individual athletes to promote products or services.
Comprised of attorneys who have experience in business and intellectual property, including business formation, intellectual property registration, licensing and enforcement, drafting and negotiation of commercial agreements and regulatory compliance, the group already has considerable experience in several key aspects of NIL practice.
Until last summer, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibited college student-athletes from making money by licensing their own name, image or likeness. The new NCAA policy, explained in more detail here, and various state laws allow companies to license a college athlete’s name, image, and likeness for commercial or promotional purposes.
“We already help companies with cases involving NIL rights. The NIL Practice Group adds the NCAA overlay to the services we already provide,” said Erica Rogers, intellectual property attorney and head of Ward and NIL Practice Group. Smith.
“We were discussing recent NCAA guidelines and realized we had significant business and intellectual property experience that we could offer in this space, especially since our offices are close to top universities in North Carolina. “New doors are opening for athletes of all genders and for collegiate sports that haven’t traditionally had center stage. We’re thrilled to have front row seats to the action.”