FIFA WM 2010, Pressespiegel
21. April 2009
Fifa scores court win against Pretoria sports bar
INTERNATIONAL soccer body Fifa secured its first 2010 court victory in the Pretoria High Court yesterday against a Pretoria sports bar for ambush marketing. “The judgment is timely, coming two months before the Confederations Cup Tournament, the dress rehearsal for the 2010 World Cup, and just over a year before the main tournament itself,” said Owen Dean, a partner at patent intellectual property law firm Spoor & Fisher.
“It sends out a signal to any other organisation considering ambush marketing that they will suffer untoward consequences. Fifa has shown it has an effective game plan for taking on ambush marketers and that it has the will, the team and the wherewithal to prevent ambush marketing.”
In the matter in issue, popular sports bar Eastwoods Tavern carried the legend “World Cup 2010” below the main signage on its roof. It also erected banners featuring the flags of a number of prominent soccer playing countries accompanied by the numerals “2010” along with the words “Twenty Ten South Africa”.
An application was launched in Fifa’s name in the Pretoria High Court claiming interdicts against Eastwoods Tavern on the grounds of infringing the registered trade marks World Cup 2010, South Africa 2010 and Twenty Ten South Africa, passing off under the common law, and unlawful competition through violating the Merchandise Act and the Trade Practices Act.
The action against the sports bar was the culmination of a five-year collaboration between Fifa and Spoor & Fisher. This entailed an extensive trade mark registration programme covering trade marks relating to the World Cup as far back as 2004. The Merchandise Marks Act gives the trade and industry minister the power to designate major sporting events as “protected events”.
“By this means, ambush marketers can be prevented from competing unlawfully with Fifa by obtaining special promotional benefit from, or associating themselves with, the 2010 World Cup, without being sponsors,” Dean said.
“By virtue of the large fees which sponsors of the tournament pay, it is essential that Fifa can guarantee and deliver exclusivity of advertising exposure to sponsors in their fields of business.” Damaging the relationship between Fifa and its sponsors by detracting from the exclusive rights given to sponsors could seriously damage Fifa and place the staging of the World Cup in jeopardy, Dean said .
Professional Services Editor