IP: Olympic effort to stop ambush marketing

Officials are carefully watching for all forms of infringement at London’s summer games

The Olympics are coming to London this summer and everyone wants a piece of them. Back in 2007, local butcher Dennis Spurr decorated his "Fantastic Sausage Factory" with a sign featuring "2012" and sausages in the shape of the famous Olympic rings. But his signage didn’t survive long, as he was ordered to remove it soon after.

At the time, such an event was newsworthy, and even controversial in some quarters. But it is only now, just months before the Games begin, that businesses are finally coming to terms with just how restrictive the anti-ambush marketing legislation really is.

However, under the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, it also is an offense to use “any representation” that is likely to suggest to the public that there is an association between your goods or services and the Games if you are not an official sponsor or licensee. The concept of association includes any kind of contractual, commercial, corporate, structural or financial connection.

This creates real difficulties for companies that want to make the most of the Games and the business opportunities they will present. Businesses with a presence in London also will be keen to capture the increased footfall, and celebrate the Games with employees and customers. But restrictions in relation to the Olympics are very wide and very strict.

Contributing Author

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Robert Lands

Robert Lands is head of intellectual property and media at Central London law firm, Finers Stephens Innocent LLP. He specializes in intellectual property and related...

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