FIFA Accused Of Not Respecting Patent For Foam Spray
Just when it appeared that FIFA was "emerging from its morass of legal problems, the organization is back in trouble with the law," according to Tariq Panja of the N.Y. TIMES. It has been accused of "using a proprietary foam without respecting and supporting the patents of its inventor." The foam, which gained int'l renown after being used at the 2014 World Cup, was invented by Heine Allemagne, who said, "FIFA robbed my idea; this is anti fair play." Last week, after years of Allemagne’s "unsuccessful petitions for FIFA to respect his rights," a Rio de Janeiro court acknowledged his patent in 44 countries. The court ordered FIFA to "stop using the spray in any of its competitions or risk a fine" of $15,000 per game. FIFA said that it could not comment on the case "because the dispute was continuing." The ruling can be appealed, though FIFA, which is based in Zurich, has spent more than $100M in legal fees since U.S. authorities in '15 unsealed an indictment that accused several senior officials of "corruption dating back decades." Initially, FIFA "tried to do right by Allemagne." FIFA offered $500,000 to buy the patent five months before the 2014 World Cup. That deal did not go through. Allemagne said that he hoped FIFA President Gianni Infantino "would act in better faith than his predecessor." Allemagne: "It was a chance for him to show whether he was a great man or just mediocre like the pirates of the past." He added that he "wanted greater recognition from FIFA after somehow spending 15 years developing the water-based spray." He also wants the Rio court to award him $100M in damages (N.Y. TIMES, 12/15).