Caterers should beware of using official 2010 World Cup logos to promote special events during the forthcoming football tournament, as they might risk a hefty fine.
Businesses that are found to be using protected emblems, words or logos by FIFA or the FA could find themselves, at the very least, being asked to stop using them to promote sales or, in the most extreme cases, facing financial penalties amounting to tens of thousands of pounds.
"Hotels, cafés, pubs, retailers, websites and other businesses around Britain will be capitalising on the World Cup by selling all manner of merchandise and services," said Clive Halperin, an intellectual property expert and partner at City law firm GSC.
"However, I would urge any business to check that it is adhering to some of the essential copyright and trademark guidelines and has licences in place. While businesses are within the law to organise campaigns around the event, football authorities, players and clubs are notoriously keen to protect their brands."
Halperin suggests that a disclaimer stating that there is no affiliation with the World Cup or the England team might be one way to avoid legal action. However, this would not be enough to overcome "in-your-face" suggestions of endorsement and will not protect a business from a claim of copyright or trademark infringement.
BE A WORLD CUP WINNER
Wondering how best to cash in on the excitement? We've examined how to generate extra business during the tournament, including plenty of tips to make sure the party goes with a bang whatever the outcome of the matches. Go to www.caterersearch.com/worldcup.
WHAT BUSINESSES CAN AND CAN'T DO
• Refer to the World Cup, as long as there is no suggestion of FIFA involvement or endorsement
• Use national flags such as the St George's cross
• Use photographs of players and stadiums with permission of the copyright owner, but you will need additional permission if there are any suggestions of endorsement or if the photos incorporate club or country logos
• Use photographs of officially licensed merchandise to promote the sale of goods, but you must not give the impression that you are an official sponsor
• Use any FA or FIFA logos or mascots without getting a special licence
• Give any impression that you are an official supplier
• Give any impression that you are being endorsed or recommended by FIFA, the FA or individual players
• Mislead consumers
• Use marketing that is defamatory, eg, by unfairly disparaging a player
By Janet Harmer
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