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New law to protect major event sponsors
It’s FIFA World Cup time, which means early mornings for Australian football (soccer) fans, nail-biting draws (or Italian-biting Uruguayans) and, of course, highly lucrative sponsorship deals.
FIFA’s major partners reportedly pay it $25 million to $50 million per year and its World Cup sponsors, $10 million to $25 million. It’s reported that World Cup marketing rights alone contributed $404 million or 29% of FIFA’s annual revenue.
Sponsorship and marketing rights are an integral part of sporting and major events. The sale of these rights helps to offset the costs of staging such events. So, protecting these rights, and the sponsors who invest in them, is extremely important.
On 1 July 2014, the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Act came into force. The Act protects the intellectual property and marketing rights associated with the following international sporting events to be held in Australia:
- the Asian Cup 2015
- the Cricket World Cup 2015
- the 2018 Commonwealth Games
The Act does so by regulating how the indicia and images associated with the events can be used. The legislation specifies that certain words, phrases and images can only be used by authorised bodies which includes sponsors who have the authorisation of the organising body.
The Act seeks to minimise ambush marketing, safeguarding sponsors’ investment in an event. The unauthorised use of restricted event indicia by a person can see them subject to injunctions, damages claims and seizure of ambush marketed goods.
Unlike other laws that cover similar sporting events, such as the 2000 Olympics, the Act can apply to multiple events. It has been drafted in a manner that allows for future events to be added to the list of events covered by the Act.
If you are looking to capitalise on major events and are not an official sponsor, it is important to ensure that you are not using any of the words, images or phrases prohibited by the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Act.
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