New Zealand tackles ambush marketing

Wednesday 23rd April 2008

The New Zealand government is drafting a Major Events Management Bill (the Bill) to help prevent ambush marketing in connection with such events. Ambush marketing occurs where a person or organization represents that it is associated or in some way connected with the event, when it is not, frequently to the frustration of its competitors who are official sponsors and will have paid for their sponsorship or in some other way sponsored the event. It is in some ways akin to passing off.

There have been many examples of ambush marketing in recent years in connection with major sporting events. To protect these events and the official sponsors and to ensure that such sponsors can continue to be found, specific legislation is now seen as necessary.

The Bill is directed at sporting activities such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games but more particularly is likely to be used in tournaments being held in New Zealand such as the Rugby World Cup in 2011, the Cricket World Cup in 2015 and the World Rowing Championships in 2010.

In drafting the legislation the New Zealand government has had regard to the recent London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 as well as similar legislation in Australia and South Africa.

It will mainly protect the event and its sponsors by creating clean zones, preventing unauthorized advertising around the area where the event is taking place, and also preventing unauthorized parties misrepresenting that they are in some way connected with the event or with a person who is authorized to provide goods or services in connection with that event.

It is hoped that the Bill will become law in New Zealand by the middle of 2007.

This article was published in Managing Intellectual Property, December 2006

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