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FIFA braced for World Cup ambush marketing

James Nurton, London

FIFA has been looking sharp in the warm up for the Football World Cup, but when push comes to shove how will it perform in the heat of battle?

With the world’s biggest football tournament starting in South Africa this Friday, lawyers interviewed by Managing IP said that there have been fewer high-profile cases over ambush marketing than expected. But they warn that there could be more confrontations to come, and that there has been a noticeable increase in counterfeit clothing on sale as the event approaches.

Owen Dean, of Spoor and Fisher, said that South Africa’s 1994 Merchandising Marks Act “is quite far-reaching by international standards”. The Act allows sporting tournaments to be designated “protected events”, and the World Cup was designated as such in 2006.

No one can use a trade mark in relation to a protected event “in a manner which is calculated to achieve publicity for that trade mark and thereby derive special promotional benefit from the event, without the prior authority of the organiser of such...

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