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Infringing Olympic Words before the 2012 Games

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"Ambush Marketing"- the phrase originated in the 1996 Olympics where companies who weren't associated with the Olympics managed to get mileage out of the Olympics to help sell their products and services. This kind of upset the official sponsors and the Olympics organisers. So to head this off, LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) have got a Royal Bill passed (despite opposition from advertising agencies) which basically gives them Carte Blanche to go after anyone using the word "London Games" or various combinations with fines of up to 20,000. This bill wasn't without some opposition. You can read LOCOG's interpretation of the law here (Warning PDF).

So how do you infringe it?
By advertising or trading using any two of these words:

  • Games
  • Two Thousand and Twelve
  • 2012
  • twenty twelve
with each other as in "2012 games","Two thousand and Twelve games","twenty twelve games" and in conjunction with one or more of these words below. The document which spells this out in details is here Warning- It's a pdf BTW.
  • London
  • medals
  • sponsors
  • summer
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

So "London Games","London 2012","London Two thousand and Twelve games","London twenty twelve games", "2012 medals","Two thousand and Twelve medals","twenty twelve medals", "Games sponsors","Games medals","summer games","summer 2012","summer Two thousand and Twelve","summer twenty twelve", etc ad nauseam are all naughty as is "2012 Bronze","2012 Silver","2012 Gold","Gold medals","Silver Medals","Bronze Medals", etc

It appears to be working in that googling for "London Games" only returns 84,700 results which is "googlistically miniscule".

These phrases presumably are non infringing though as I'm not a Lawyer, don't sue me if you use them and get fined! "Gold Medal","silver medal","Bronze Medal","London Gold","London Silver","London Bronze","summer gold","summer silver","summer bronze".

And what about the US way of saying "two thousand and twelve" ie "two thousand twelve"? Presumably "London two thousand twelve" is then non infringing as well as "two thousand twelve games"?

The last word goes to Out-Law.com who say "Any infringement action taken by the LOCOG would be brought before a court. It would be the court, not the LOCOG, that would determine what level of fine was appropriate in each case."

 

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