FIFA clamps down on World Cup ambush marketing

Football’s world governing body FIFA has taken action against 100 ambush marketers in the past six months, ahead of next year’s football World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA’s IP legal counsel Auke-Jan Bossenbroek told a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on Monday that all the cases have been resolved.

Bloomberg quoted him as saying that a majority of cases involved small companies – and they were not pursued in court, as a phone call has usually sufficed to resolve each dispute.

There have been instances of “large corporations trying to use the popularity of the World Cup inSpecific legislation for the Brazil World Cup and the Brazil-hosted football confederations cup 2013 – which was passed in June 2012 – allows civil and criminal laws to punish the unauthorised use of FIFA trademarks. Brazil’s IP office has also introduced shorter rebuttal periods for applicants of marks that are opposed by FIFA.

Additionally, host stadiums will implement restricted areas, in which sales or advertising of non-sponsored goods will be prohibited.

Many of the ambushing cases in Brazil have arisen because small businesses don’t know about, or understand, the laws, said Paulo Parente Marques Mendes, partner at law firm Di Blasi Parente & Associados in Rio.

Brazil is such a big country, he said, making it can be hard to inform everyone about what is and isn’t allowed.

FIFA officials will be travelling to the 12 Brazilian world cup host cities to explain the rules to businesses, while the organisation has penned an open letter recommending how companies should approach advertising and promotion around the world cup.

Despite FIFA’s efforts, Parente said he expects more ambushing cases to arrive.

“There will be lots more cases of ambush marketing – not only by small companies but by some big some players too … We have to wait.”

The 100 reported cases in Brazil is apparently a figure higher than that reported a year before the 2010 South Africa World Cup, where one of the most notable ambushing incidents was the hiring of 36 women wearing orange mini-skirts to promote a Dutch beer company.

Last year’s London 2012 Olympic Games were widely regarded as a success for the lack of ambush marketing. A combination of strict legislation and tough enforcement were attributed to stamping out any major incidents.



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