IP and the Olympic Games 2012
'Ambush marketing' is the term used to describe the activities of a company, which seeks to associate itself with, and take advantage of, the publicity surrounding a major event, for example the Olympic Games, without paying to become an official sponsor of the event.
At the Atlanta Games in 1996, it was reported that NIKE used 'ambush marketing' techniques to exploit the event for huge commercial gain, allegedly winning more brand recognition than two of the official sponsors, Reebok and Adidas. Nike had apparently used every available billboard in
Given that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) raises funding worth £billions by selling "exclusive" rights to use the Olympic trademarks and symbols to official sponsors, it is vitally important that the Committee guarantees the exclusivity of those rights. Therefore, the Committee now legally requires every host city to take appropriate measures to prevent 'ambush marketing' and protect the IP rights that have become associated with the Games.
To this end, the "London Olympics Bill" was introduced in the House of Commons On
The use of Olympic Symbols etc in the
"games", "Two Thousand and Twelve", "2012" and "".
"gold", "silver", "bronze", "
Combinations of terms all contained within the second group would not infringe London Olympics association right.
Under the provisions of the Bill, the Secretary of State would be able to amend the terms to be included on the lists where necessary in order to prevent the commercial exploitation of the Games.
The proposed restrictions are intended simply to mirror those that applied in Sydney 2000, but critics claim that the Bill stipulates a greater number of 'restricted terms', inhibiting the ability of companies to go about their normal business. For example the Bill in it's current form would be infringed by phrases such as "Come to
In light of such criticism the Department for Culture, Media & Sport has published a 'fact sheet', confirming that certain combinations of words would be prohibited by the Act and that such infringement may result in damages being awarded against the infringer, but that the Bill would not "...put a blanket ban on expressions such as 'come to
Further information regarding the progress of this Bill through Parliament will be provided as it becomes available.