A new Intellectual Property Right for Scotland?

Late last month the UK Parliament passed the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 (Games Association Right) Order 2009. This created a new legal right in relation to the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow in 2014.

The right is infringed where someone uses in the course of business a “representation (of any kind)” that suggests an association with the 2014 Games.

The right is enforceable by the Games Organising Committee (“GOC”). This alllows the GOC to effectivley sell the right to be “associated” with the games.

So, for example, if Brodies put on its website a statement along the lines of “proud to be associated with the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games” then we would probably be infringing the new right, and could be pinged by the GOC, because we have not paid the GOC a sponsorship fee . To be clear, Brodies is not sponsoring the 2014 Games.

Nowadays most major events have similar legislation. Here is some information about the the legislation for the London Olympics.

Often there is protection against “ambush marketing”. That is, cheeky marketing that deflates the efforts of an official sponsor. My favourite example is when a Dutch brewery gave free branded t-shirts to a whole bunch of Dutch fans outside the stadium at a World Cup. The television pictures clearly showed all the Dutch fans wearing their new t-shirts behind a Budweiser holding. No doubt Budweiser were not amused (and for those IP geeks out there by Budweiser I mean the American brewery not the Czechoslovakian one).

But there is protection against ambush marketing in the Order.

In fact the Order does not go any further than UK Trade Mark law, and the GOC already has UK registered trade marks in all classes for both the words Glasgow 2014 and its logo.

So what is the point of it? Is it a case of “me too” by the GOC?

The only advantage I can see here is that the GOC is now protected against the risk that one of those registered trade marks is successfully challenged. For example, arguably the “Glasgow 2014” word mark could be challenged as being too descriptive.

Douglas

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