Stacey Grayshon, a solicitor at Langleys Solicitors LLP in York, says that the Olympics organisers have taken a very proactive step in ensuring that their sponsors’ rights will be protected to the fullest extent possible
She said: “This is an area that many businesses could learn from when agreeing their own sponsorship deals as the organisers have done all they can to protect their sponsors’ brands.
“The official sponsors have sole global marketing rights for their particular sector, however it is almost impossible for these rights to be 100 per cent protected. ‘Ambush marketing’ is big business so anti-ambushing legislation enacted to protect each Olympic Games is becoming increasingly refined in an attempt to keep up with the ambushers' sophisticated and creative marketing strategies.
“London 2012 has taken major steps to seek to protect the rights that sponsors have paid for by introducing in December 2011 'The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Advertising and Street Trading etc) (England) Regulations 2011. These regulations restrict certain types of advertising and street trading in the vicinity of the London 2012 venues. The police and other authorised agents will have immediate powers to stop and prevent unauthorised advertising and trading and to enter private land. Further restrictions relating to advertising in and around the Olympic venues and street trading are also in force.
“Outside the Olympic Games there is no single law to protect against ambush marketing in the UK. Affected parties could consider bringing actions for breaches of
Trade marks, Copyright, Design rights and Passing off for example.
“Only time will tell if the restrictions placed around the Olympics will work for the sponsors.”