On 15 May 2014, the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Bill 2014 (the ‘Bill‘) passed both houses of Parliament in Australia.  The Bill aims to prevent the unauthorised commercial use of certain marks and images associated with the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup 2015, the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup 2015 and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.  In October of last year, we noted that the Queensland Government passed the Commonwealth Games Arrangements (Brand Protection) Amendment Act in order to combat ambush marketing (see here).  This new legislation further fortifies the Commonwealth Games, while protecting the other two major events.  It does so by:

  • preventing the unauthorised commercial use of protected indicia and images;
  • protecting agreed words and phrases (and their deviations) associated with the event;
  • providing for exemptions for the use of certain indicia and images for each event, where the use is for the purpose of provision of information, criticism or review; and
  • providing injunctive remedies, as well as damages, corrective advertising and seizing any infringing goods.

This is a welcomed piece of legislation for those looking to sponsor the upcoming events, providing adequate recourse against infringing parties.  Yet again, Australia has shown itself to be a friendly jurisdiction for the protection of sponsors, understanding the significant financial burden borne by hosts and the importance of sponsors to major events in the modern era.  Whether UK legislators have taken note for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in 2015 has yet to be seen.

Dylan Kennett