With the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 in force and UK marketers grappling with how not to infringe the new London Olympics Association Right, LOCOG has published new LOAR Guidelines.
Topic: Ambush Marketing
Who: London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games
When: 2 May 2006
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) issued new guidance setting out its views on the interpretation of the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 (“LOGAPGA”) and the Olympic Symbol etc (Protection) Act 1995 (“OSPA”). These are the Acts that give LOCOG special statutory rights against advertisers who use Olympic references without permission.
The 53-page guidance note is available on the London 2012 website at http://www.london2012.com/NR/rdonlyres/848662A5-16E9-4FA4-9963-AE63533B5316/0/LOCOGsStatutoryMarketingRightsUPDATED.pdf.
Why this matters
The guidance is lengthy and detailed and contains a number of helpful flow-charts. However, as its creators are at pains to point out, it “provides LOCOG’s interpretation of its statutory rights and is not a substitute for legal advice”.
No prizes then if you guessed that LOCOG’s interpretation on a few issues might tend to favour LOCOG! For instance:
- LOCOG gives an example of how it sees the honest statement of fact defence under OSPA working in practice. It claims a poster put up throughout a chain of pubs stating “X BRAND Brewery – Watch the OLYMPICS live here – X BRAND Brewery” would be an infringement. LOCOG boldly states that this would not be “in accordance with honest practices in industrial and commercial matters”. But would a court agree?
- The guidance suggests that an accountancy firm would infringe LOCOG’s rights if it hosted an Olympic-themed lunch and sent out invitations stating “A, B & C Co London 2012 lunch – join us on 20 June for lunch and to hear how the 2012 Games is impacting the UK’s economy”. However, would this activity really suggest to the public that there is an association between A, B & C Co and the London Olympics?
(Interestingly, the guidance also suggests that commercial organisers of conferences about the London 2012 Games should ensure materials carry a disclaimer to state that the conference is not an official source of information on the Games and is not endorsed by LOCOG. This seems to be an acknowledgement by LOCOG that disclaimers can be effective in preventing an association being suggested – one for non-sponsor advertisers to bear in mind for future reference?)
All in all, marketers with queries about Olympic references would be wise to heed LOCOG’s recommendation and seek independent legal advice…