Ambush Marketing: Examining the Development of an Event Organizer Right of Association
In: Lee, Nari / et al. (ed.): Intellectual Property, Unfair Competition and Publicity – Convergences and Development (EIPIN Series). Cheltenham, UK / Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar, 2014, pp. 165 - 188.
23 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2011 Last revised: 13 Oct 2014
Date Written: December 8, 2011
This article analyses the potential impact of mega-event organizer (MEOs) efforts to combat advertising practices commonly lumped together and referred to as 'ambush marketing.' In particular, the article examines the MEO lobbying efforts to expand national trademark and unfair competition systems to include an event organizer right of association.
In order to present ambush marketing as an advertising tool, Section 2 begins by giving examples of ambush marketing methods, i.e. competitive marketing techniques regularly employed by nonsponsor businesses around mega-events. Section 2 then goes on to define ambush marketing in light of these selected examples, existing law and an event organizer right of association.
Section 3 introduces approaches MEOs have developed and implemented to reduce the avenues open to, and supposed detrimental effects of, ambush marketing in the absence of an event organizer right of association. A review of these strategies helps to contextualize the perceived need to expand legal systems to include an event organizer right of association.
Section 4 provides a survey of the sui generis protection regimes a growing number of countries have enacted so as to shield MEOs and their corporate sponsors from the alleged ill-effects of ambush marketing.
Section 5 concludes by critiquing the introduction of such laws from both a legal and a policy perspective. It is argued that the danger at play here is not so-called ambush marketing; instead, the real threat is posed by the MEO frontal attack on competitive advertising practices.
Keywords: ambush marketing, mega-events, Olympics, IOC, FIFA, World Cup, London Olympics Right of Association, trademark law, unfair competition law
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