By Chris Hoole, trainee solicitor at Walker Morris

With the 2012 Olympics round the corner, businesses may seek to take advantage of this global occasion to draw in profits and jump on the Olympic bandwagon.....

However, in view of the plethora of regulations which control the use of the Olympic brand and the potential ramifications for those that fail to comply, marketing, advertising or branding in this way must be approached with care.

What are the Olympic Rights?

The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 (2006 Act) created what is commonly referred to as the Olympic Association Right (OAR). Through OAR, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) is bestowed a number of rights which allow them to control the use of certain identifiable Olympic symbols or similar representations. If a business fails to comply with these regulations or does not seek consent from LOCOG it may face significant damages or injunctive proceedings.

Why an Olympic Right?

The Association Right was created, amongst other things, to comply with the requirements of the International Olympic Committee and to ensure, from a more commercial perspective, that sponsors (who will have invested significant sums to associate themselves with the games) are protected against ambush marketers, such as the Dutch beer campaign which saw several women ejected from the FIFA World Cup in 2010 for wearing matching orange dresses.

What does the Association Right Prevent?

A person infringes OAR if, in the course of trade, it uses in relation to goods or services, a "controlled representation" in a manner likely to suggest an association between the Olympics and the person providing the goods or services. Controlled representations include: The Olympic Symbol, The Olympic Motto: ‘Citius Altius Fortius' / ‘Faster Higher Stronger’, “Olympic(s)”, “Olympiad(s)”, “Olympian(s)” (or anything similar to them, or translations of them) and equivalent.

Chris is a trainee solicitor at Walker Morris in Leeds. Before joining Walker Morris Chris studied English Law and European Law at University where he focused on cyberlaw and cybercrime as part of his dissertation. Since University, Chris has worked both in Dubai and Hong Kong.

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