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How to avoid an Olympic-sized infringement
3:24pm Tuesday 7th August 2012 in Business Daily
THE 2012 Olympic Games have already been a huge talking point across the country, and it has been fantastic to see Team GB achieve so many medals. However, whilst it is great to see businesses getting into the Olympic spirit, it is important to remember that Olympic themed events, competitions and promotions could have the potentially serious legal implications and should therefore be carefully considered.
Many people mistakenly believe that breaching Olympic intellectual property rights involves reproducing the Games’ marks, designs, words, symbols or mottos. However, the reality is that anything which suggests that there is an affiliation with, for example, the Olympic Games would be an infringement on the rights of the intellectual property proprietor, LOCOG.
The marks and words of the Games are legally protected by way of registered trademarks, registered designs, common law, copyrights and community designs. Further protection has also been granted by the provisions of the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995 and the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006. These provisions are drafted widely, and on that basis businesses are warned to take a cautious approach to Olympic marketing in any form.
It was always difficult to anticipate how brand protection would be enforced, but to many experts’ surprise the provisions are being heavily ‘policed’ and not just within the confines of the Olympic Park. Examples of businesses that have already been targeted include a bagel company, who displayed five bagels to signify the Olympic rings in their shop window, and a florist in Stoke-on-Trent who had an Olympic themed window display. Trading standards deemed that the latter was an unauthorised use of the Olympic brand and the florist was apparently threatened with an action for breach of copyright.
Obviously we are all supporting team GB and the London 2012 Olympics, however businesses should beware not to put themselves at risk.
If you would like any more information on this article, intellectual property rights or any other commercial law issues, please email Andrew Bradley at email@example.com.
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