Following a consultation process that ended on 30 May 2011, the UK government is expected to publish its response to the consultation in September. With the opening ceremony now less than a year away, Nick Johnson summarises the key anti-ambush protections for the London Games.
Topic: Ambush marketing
Who: Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), London Olympic Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), International Olympic Committee (IOC)
When: September 2011
Law stated as at: 1 August 2011
Following a consultation process that ended on 30 May 2011, the DCMS is expected to publish in September its response to submissions received. The consultation paper included draft versions of the three proposed sets of “Advertising and Trading Regulations” for London 2012:
- The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Street Trading etc) (England) Regulations 2011;
- The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Street Trading etc) (Wales) Regulations 2011; and
- The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Street Trading) (Scotland) Regulations 2011,
as well as maps setting out the proposed restricted zones around each particular venue/event.
The Regulations, once finalised and brought into force, will amongst other things place tough restrictions on advertising and promotional activity within the vicinity of Olympic venues. These restrictions are on top of the already significant curbs in place throughout the UK under the 1995 Act and the 2006 Act and pursuant to various trade mark and other protections obtained by LOCOG and the IOC (see below).
The proposal is that these additional “vicinity advertising” restrictions would apply for limited periods only, and at different times for the different venues – in each case for just a short time around the dates when Olympic and Paralympic activity is taking place at that location. See our analysis from last April (here) for further details.
Why this matters:
LOCOG’s anti-ambush armoury – a summary
So what weapons does LOCOG already have in its armoury against unauthorised advertisers trying to gain an inappropriate promotional advantage by reference to the London 2012 Olympics? Please find below a summary of some of LOCOG’s key legal and regulatory tools:
1. Olympic Symbol etc (Protection) Act 1995 (as amended)
- Creates the Olympic Association Right and the Paralympic Association Right.
- Restricts use of the Olympic symbol, the Paralympic symbol, the words OLYMPIC(S), OLYMPIAN(S), OLYMPIAD(S), PARALYMPIC(S), PARALYMPIAN(S) AND PARALYMPIAD(S) and the Olympic and Paralympic mottos (“CITIUS ALTIUS FORTIUS”, “FASTER HIGHER STRONGER”, “SPIRIT IN MOTION”).
2. London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006
- Creates the London Olympic Association Right (LOAR), restricting the use of “any representation (of any kind) in a manner likely to suggest to the public that there is an association between the London Olympics and [a business or goods/services it provides]”.
- Gives the statutory basis for the proposed 2011 Advertising Regulations.
- Creates ticket touting offences.
- Enforcement rights extended by the Olympics, Paralympics and London Olympics Association Rights (Infringement Proceedings) Regulations 2010.
3. Registered trade marks
- LOCOG, the IOC and the BOA have trade mark registrations for, amongst other things: LONDON 2012, 2012, LOCOG, TEAM GB and various associated logos and designs.
4. Copyright and design rights
- Various mascot designs, artwork, logos, graphics and the official font of London 2012 are protected by design right and/or as copyright works/registered designs.
5. Passing off
- Common law rights – unlikely to add much that goes beyond the rights under the 1995 and 2006 Acts.
6. Contractual restrictions
- Official sponsors’ and suppliers’ contracts with LOCOG contain restrictions on marketing activities.
- Suppliers to official sponsors may be required by those sponsors to sign up to contractual restrictions that go beyond the position that would otherwise apply.
7. National Governing Body undertakings
- LOCOG has secured undertakings from NGBs designed to limit the extent to which sponsors of particular sports can imply an association with the Olympics or any Olympic team.
8. Olympic Charter and IPC Handbook
- Restrict competing athletes from allowing third parties to use their name or image in advertising during the Games.
9. Options over advertising inventory
- London 2012 Limited negotiated options over key London advertising inventory as part of the original bid process.