Posted on 20.4.12 by Christian Mancier
The Olympics (and Paralympics) will create a massive feel-good factor and many businesses may be considering products or services or advertising of some description that implies an association with the Olympics.
Corporate sponsors invest hundreds of millions of pounds in the Olympics and in return want a degree of exclusivity. Consequently, there is some specific legislation that prevents businesses who are not official sponsors from creating a form of association with the Olympics.
This legislation firstly prevents businesses in the course of their trade from using certain words (e.g. Olympics or Paralympics) or symbols (the Olympic rings) or mottos (e.g. “faster, higher, stronger”).
Secondly, the legislation prevents a business, in the course of its trade, making any representation in relation to its goods or services (which includes advertising) that suggests to the public that there is an association between the London Olympics and the goods or services provided by the business concerned.
The legislation sets out “listed expressions” that if used can be taken into account by the court in determining whether a business has fallen foul of this legislation. These include certain combinations of the following words: Games, 2012, Gold, Silver, Bronze, London, Medals, Sponsors and Summer.
Unless you fall within one of the specific exemptions the short answer is likely to be “no” and specific legal advice should be sought on anything you are planning to do that may imply any form of association with the Olympics as there are both criminal and civil consequences of breaching this legislation.