Who: IOC, SOCOG, FIFA, Glasgow 2014 Limited
Where: Sochi, Rio and Glasgow
Law stated as at: 14 January 2014
For armchair sports fans 2014 promises a viewing feast, but for non-sponsor marketers looking to take advantage, dangers lurk. The 2014 Winter Olympics (Sochi), FIFA World Cup (Rio) and Commonwealth Games (Glasgow) are each protected by anti-ambush marketing provisions in event-specific local legislation.
The lead Russian statute is “Federal Law No. 310-FZ (1 December 2007) on the organization and holding of the XXII winter Olympic games and XI winter Paralympics games of 2014 in the town of Sochi, on the development of the town of Sochi as a mountain climate health resort and on amending certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation”. Key highlights include:
• A ban on unauthorised advertising within a 1km radius of Olympic venues during the period from 1 month before the Olympic Games opening ceremony until 1 month after the Paralympic Games closing ceremony (Article 6(1)).
• During the same restricted period, a ban on any “advertising on sportswear, accessories or sports equipment to be used by athletes or other participants in the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games”, save to the extent permitted under the Olympic Charter (Article 6(2)).
• A deeming provision, whereby any material that misleadingly suggests that a business or advertiser is associated with the Olympics/Paralympics will be deemed to be unfair competition, vulnerable to challenge by the Russian antimonopoly authorities (Article 8).
• Specific power for President Putin to establish enhanced security measures for the restricted period, including: “establishment of controlled and/or prohibited areas; … restriction on movement of vehicles; … restriction on flights of aircraft; … enhancement of security measures to protect public order and facilities; … restriction on holding public events which are not related to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games; … screening of individuals and the items carried by them, as well as of vehicles and their contents, at the time of entry into and departure from a controlled area, including with the use of technical devices” (Article 10).
• Various terms and marks including “Olympic”, “Olympiad”, “Sochi 2014″, “Olympian”, “Olympic Winter Games”, “Olympic Games” and words and expressions derived from them, as well as the Olympic symbol, fire, torch, flag, anthem, motto, emblems and “historical symbols of any previous Olympic Games” are protected. Unauthorised use of a protected mark that “creates an impression that [the user is] associated with the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games” is unlawful (Article 7).
Federal Law No. 310-FZ can be found in English here.
The Lei Geral da Copa (Law no.12.663/2012) or “World Cup Act” covers a wide range of issues, from provisions around ticket pricing and audio-visual rights through to entry visas. It also includes specific provisions dealing with protection of FIFA World Cup branding and symbols, and allows FIFA to define commercial exclusion areas around competition stadia.
FIFA has published guidance, and has sent pre-emptive letters to various non-sponsors setting out FIFA’s views on its legal rights in relation to non-sponsor activity. It has also published information (in Portuguese) on the exclusion zones.
The Glasgow Commonwealth Games have largely replicated the protections put in place for the London 2012 Olympics.
– The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 bans ticket touting and sets out the framework for restricting trading and advertising activity in the vicinity of Games venues.
– The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 (Games Association Right) Order 2009 created a specific IP right – the “Glasgow 2014 Association Right”. This broadly mirrors the London Olympics Association Right, although the Olympic legislation’s provisions identifying specific problematic word combinations are not reflected.
– The Glasgow Commonwealth Games (Trading and Advertising) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 will restrict trading in open public places and advertising activity in defined event zones, during specified prohibited times. Breach of the Regulations can give rise to criminal offences under the 2008 Act.
Glasgow 2014 have published detailed guidance on the Trading and Advertising Regulations .
Maps of the restricted event zones can be seen here.
Why this matters:
Increasingly, global sporting events will only be awarded to host cities who can demonstrate that they have in place – or will put in place – strong legislation to protect the rights of official sponsors. A key challenge for local organising committees (and official sponsors) is to ensure that these strong legal rights are deployed sensitively and appropriately. A heavy-handed approach can generate media backlash and bad feeling amongst supporters and sports fans – an “own goal” that sponsors and organisers will want to avoid.