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Friday, 20 April 2012

Legislation and the Olympics - Feel good, but don't fall foul

By Christian Mancier, Partner at Gorvins Solicitors

The Olympics (and Paralympics) will create a massive feel-good factor and many businesses may be considering products or services or advertising of some description that implies an association with the Olympics.

Corporate sponsors invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the Olympics and in return want a degree of exclusivity. Consequently there is some specific legislation that prevents businesses who are not official sponsors creating a form of association with the Olympics.

This legislation firstly prevents businesses in the course of their trade using certain words (e.g. Olympics or Paralympics), symbols (the Olympic rings) or mottos (e.g. “faster, higher, stronger”).

Secondly the legislation prevents a business, in the course of its trade, making any representation in relation to its goods or services (which includes advertising) that suggests to the public that there is an association between the London Olympics and the goods or services provided by the business concerned.

The legislation sets out “listed expressions” that if used can be taken into account by the court determining whether a business has fallen foul of this legislation. These include certain combinations of the following words: Games, 2012, gold, silver, bronze, London, medals, sponsors and summer.

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