Get The Answers: Take legal advice if trying to score sales from RWC

By Gill South

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Advertising controls will affect retail and other businesses, says Corinne Blumsky, partner at AJ Park, patent attorneys.

Photo / Sarah Ivey
Photo / Sarah Ivey

Every business in New Zealand wants to ride on the tail of the Rugby World Cup, but they should check the legalities before they get too carried away. The legislation around ambush marketing is clear and restrictive.

We would like to leverage off the back of the Rugby World Cup with merchandising through which we can reward good customers. How do we get permission to do this from the organisers?

Best get legal advice on what you're intending to sell. A lawyer can tell you if you're likely to breach the Major Events Management Act or not.

If your lawyer advises that you could breach the act, then you may decide to get permission for a licence from Licensing in Motion (velocitybrandmanagement.com). They have been granted the master licensing rights in New Zealand.

Many licences have already been issued, from clothing to stamps. Any business that does not have a licence to produce official Rugby World Cup 2011 merchandise cannot produce anything that contains protected Rugby World Cup 2011 emblems or words.

We would like to advertise as close as physically possible to the Rugby World Cup venues. How do we find out where the best advertising vantage points are around the country?

You need to be careful where you market yourself in relation to Rugby World Cup venues. The Major Events Management Act protects against "ambush marketing by intrusion" - taking advantage of the assembled audience to promote your brand in a specific location or activity location around the event stadium.

Although there has been much commentary on banning streaking and ticket touting, the controls on advertising will affect retail and other businesses the most.

Ambush marketing by intrusion is aimed at curbing street selling of goods, handing out promotional giveaways and even banners attached to fly-past aircraft or blimps within declared "clean zones" and declared "clean transport routes" for a "clean period" of time.

A "clean zone" is the match setting and surrounding area. A "clean transport route" can extend up to 5km along motorways, highways and rail lines.

And a "clean period" is any time during, before and up to 30 days after the event.

Unless you have permission from the major event organiser or an exception applies, street trading and advertising of any type in clean zones is banned.

Signs or billboards on private land within the clean zone containing advertising may be in breach. Advertising outside the clean zone, but still clearly visible to the naked eye from within the clean zone, may be a breach.

We would like to mention the Rugby World Cup on our online advertising, just to show we are celebrating the event to our international customers. Is this allowed? What restrictions are there?

You need to make sure you don't use any words that are declared "major event emblems or words". You also need to avoid suggesting any association with Rugby World Cup 2011.

For example, saying "Rugby in New Zealand" is permitted, but "Rugby World Cup" is not.

Words that are protected under the Major Events Management Act (and therefore cannot be used without permission) include:

* Rugby World Cup
* World Cup 2011
* RWC
* World in union
* Rugby New Zealand 2011
* Total rugby
* Webb Ellis Cup
* IRB

See www.med.govt.nz for emblems that are protected under the act.

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Send your questions to Gill at: Southgill1@gmail.com

- NZ Herald

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