New Order Declares Two Upcoming Triathlon Events Major Events

Saturday 19th November 2011

Two upcoming triathlon events have been declared as major events under the Major Events Management Act 2007 (MEMA) in New Zealand.

The ITU Triathlon World Cup 2011 and the Triathlon World Championship Grand Final 2012, which will both be held in Auckland, were named in an Order that was passed in late October. The Order comes into force on 18 November 2011.

The Cup will take place on 20 November, while the Championship event will be a week-long festival next October and is anticipated to attract over 100,000 spectators and an international television audience of 25 million.

It is expected that more than $7 million will be pumped into the Auckland economy as a result of these events.

The Order identifies Triathlon World Champs 2012 Limited as the major event organiser for these events.

The Order also declares the “Auckland Triathlon ITU World Cup” and “Auckland Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final” to be major event emblems, and words associated with the events, or their combination, major event words. The protection periods for the major event emblems and words are from 18 November 2011 until 19 December 2011 for the World Cup, and from 1 January 2012 until 19 November 2012 for the Grand Final.

The MEMA aims to protect major event organisers and sponsors from illegitimate profiteering by parties who are not official sponsors of the major event – the so-called “ambush marketing tactics”. This is achieved by preventing such parties from advertising their goods and services, by suggesting that they are associated with a major event in some manner (ambush marketing by association) or attracting the attention of people attending the event (ambush marketing by intrusion).

While it is understandable that businesses will want to capitalise on the lucrative activities associated with such high calibre events, they should be aware of the provisions of the MEMA, and, in particular, ensure that they do not use the major event emblems and words in such a way as to suggest that there is an association between either them or their goods or services, and the events. A breach of the relevant section of the Act can be a criminal offence and carries a maximum fine of $150,000.

There are various exceptions to the Act, however. For instance, using a major event emblem that comprises the whole or part of the trade name of a business would not infringe the Act, and neither would an existing registered trade mark.

This article was written with assistance from Anna Parfjonova.

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