As the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games rapidly approaches, we offer a word of caution if you are tempted to make use of the occasion to promote your business. Because a proportion of the cost of the Games is provided through commercial sponsorship and, understandably, the sponsors will not feel happy about paying if other companies are allowed to cash in without paying, there are strict controls in place over the commercial use of various terms associated with the event.
The London Organising Committee of the Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) are charged with defending the intellectual property rights established under the London Olympic and Paralympic Games Act 2006. The Act sets out Lists of expressions which cannot be used. List A contains the terms ‘Games’, ‘Two Thousand and Twelve’, ‘2012’ and ‘twenty twelve’, while List B has ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’, ‘Bronze’, ‘London’, ‘medals’, ‘sponsors’ and ‘summer’. Use of any two terms from List A together, or any term from List A with one or more terms from List B, in such a way that might suggest a connection with the Games, will be considered by the courts to be an infringement of LOCOG’s rights.
Even more jealously guarded are the name ‘Olympic’ and its obvious variations, together with the symbols or logos associated with the Games. These are specifically reserved by the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995. Use of any of these in your advertising could result in a legal action against you.
So, enjoy the Games this summer, but be very careful to avoid infringing the Intellectual Property Rights attached to the names and logos reserved for LOCOG when promoting your business. For additional information, see “Brand protection – London 2012’s UK Statutory Marketing Rights”, a pdf document downloadable at: