The organisers of The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are hoping that this summer's games will be just as successful and celebrated as those of the London 2012 Olympic Games. One way in which the organisers are copying London's success is by replicating the way in which the Games brand and commercial interests are protected by employing robust legal measures to prevent ambush marketing.

Ambush marketing is when a person or business illegitimately attempts to associate itself with a major event, gaining commercial benefits without paying the required sponsorship fees.

Under the terms of The Glasgow Commonwealth Games (Trading and Advertising) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 it will be an offence to trade or to advertise in or around the vicinity of the event zones during specific periods. The restrictions on ambush marketing and advertising also apply to the frontages of buildings visible from and within 20 metres of the event zones.

Recently, the organisers of the Games have been warning traders around event zones throughout Scotland that there will be a zero tolerance policy for traders not adhering to these rules.  Moreover, the process for seeking authorisation for advertising activity in the event zones within certain times closed on 31 March 2014.  So if you have overlooked the deadline you are now too late to apply for  authorisation.  Under the Regulations, traders could face court actions, have their profits confiscated or be ordered to pay damages. 

Special legislation, The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 (Games Association Right) Order 2009, has also been enacted to create a Glasgow 2014 Association Right which prevents traders associating themselves with the Games through wider unauthorised commercial activity and protects the Games intellectual property rights. An association under this legislation is construed broadly to include any kind of commercial relationship or connection with the Games.

Thus, any unauthorised advertising or marketing by businesses that includes the words "Games", "2014", "Gold", "Medals" and "Glasgow", amongst others, would likely be interpreted as an attempt at creating an association and the Organising Committee would likely enforce their Association Right.

Over the course of The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games businesses around event venues should take particular care to not infringe the Regulations and Order. Please contact the MacRoberts Sports Law Department should you wish to discuss any related issues.

For more information on guidance for marketing for The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games click here