Major Events Management Act 2007

New Zealand has introduced legislation to provide greater protection to sponsors of important events from ambush marketing: the Major Events Management Act 2007.

International sporting events are on the increase in New Zealand with the hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and co-hosting of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. These events are in addition to other world championships such as the Under 17 Women’s Football World Cup 2008, and the Rowing World Championships 2010. As part of New Zealand’s successful bids to host these events, a commitment was given to ensure adequate provisions are in place to protect the sponsors.

The Major Events Management Act 2007 is divided into five parts. The important provisions are found in Part II (protection for major events) Part III (permanently protected emblems and words) and part (IV) (enforcement).

Part II is divided into four sub-parts covering declaration of a major event, protection against ambush marketing by association, protection against ambush marketing by intrusion and prevention of ticket scalping.

On September 24 2007 the first order in Council was issued declaring the Rugby World Cup 2011 to be a major event.

On September 11 2008 the Major Event Emblems and Words (Rugby World Cup 2011) Order 2008 came into force declaring the protection period for the Rugby World Cup 2011 starting on September 11 2008 and ending on November 21 2011.

The emblems declared to be major event emblems for the protection period of the Rugby World Cup 2011 are set out in Schedule one. Schedule two sets out words declared to be a major event word. Words such as International Rugby Board, IRB, Rugby NZ 2011, Rugby World Cup, Rugby World Cup Event, and Rugby World Cup Official Broadcaster are listed. There are over 50 words list in part A of schedule 2 and over 60 words in part B of schedule 2 that are declared to be major event words.

On October 28 2008 New Zealand hosts The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. The Major Events Emblems and Words (FIFA U-17 women’s World Cup) has just declared the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup the second event to be declared a major event.

The protection period starts on October 23 2008 and ends on December 15 2008. This is one month after the end of the event.

Emblems such as the official FIFA U-17 women’s world cup 2008 Emblem and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trophy and the official FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2008 poster are declared to be official emblems. Words such as FIFA, FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, FIFA World Cup, NZ U-17 Women’s World Cup, World Cup New Zealand, World Cup 2008 are declared to be major event words for the protection period.

It will be interesting to see what future events are declared as major events.

This article was published in Managing Intellectual Property, November 2008.