What should be taken into account for the use of expressions or ads regarding the World Cup when launching campaigns and trademarks to the market?

Due to the World Cup event in Brazil, companies from neighbouring countries grow their interest in creating advertising campaigns and trademark application that reference this event.

In this rise in football, and the investments and profits derived from this event, the rush to release campaigns and trademarks to the market, can take companies to careless actions with regards to the legal protection measures to protect their signs and the applicable law by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association-FIFA, which could lead to relevant fines.

What should be taken into account for the use of expressions or ads regarding the World Cup?

Advertising and Consumer Protection

In first place, it is necessary to take into account that making advertising or promotional campaigns whose end is to create an impact in the consumer through prizes and gifts about game tickets and objects regarding the event.  In every country, it may has existing regulations to avoid deceitful advertisements and to protect consumers.

This is the case of Colombia, where the Trademark Office, by means of a Resolution and in alliance with FIFA, has established certain obligations for those who make advertising or promotional campaigns.

Among these, there is the obligation to include statements such as the following, “The incentive does not include tickets to World Cup Games” or to indicate that they have the necessary authorizations given by FIFA.

In Colombia, around 6 national and international companies have been fined for not complying with these obligations, leading to economic costs and the immediate removal of all publicity.

Trademark Registries and Copywright

Additionally, in developing new trademarks, industrial design, and commercial slogans, it is equally important to take into account the regulation and protection of the Intellectual Property belonging to the FIFA 2014 World Cup.

FIFA is the owner, in the majority of countries, of the trademarks FIFA, WORLD CUP, CUP 2014, and BRAZIL 2014, and holds the Copyright for certain goods such as posters, emblems and official mascots, whose use by third parties must be authorized by agreements or licenses between FIFA and the interested party.

Those called commercial affiliates of FIFA have the unique faculty of using, exploiting, and commercializing their products using World Cup signs.

Derived from the licensing, the protection of the trademarks and similar signs that may create confusion, are also subject to sanctions. This makes important to not incur in unauthorized copying, reproduction, modification, or imitation.

In accordance with the foregoing, it is also important to remark some other actions or legal procedures stated in the Colombian unfair competition Law (Law 256 of 1996), that could also apply as result of a imitation or misleading publicity regarding the FIFA mentioned world cup:

a) Competition deviation practices
b) Confusion practices
c) Discrediting practices
d) Misleading practices
e) Imitation practices
f) Take advantage of others commercial reputation

With this in mind, it is clear that businessmen must have the necessary caution and guidance when they design campaigns derived from the most important sporting event in the world. Using its Intellectual Property must be authorized by FIFA and confined to the terms of the agreement, always taking care of local consumer protection regulations.