British Olympic Assoc head of legal pushes for ambush marketing laws

No sooner had the British Olympic Association’s (BOA) head of legal affairs Sara Friend stepped off the plane from Athens, than she was back in the office working on the London 2012 bid and demanding legislative change.

“There’s no genuine ambush marketing legislation in this country at the moment. You have to rely on passing off laws. We need to bring in new legislation to specifically deal with ambush marketing,” Friend told The Lawyer.

The BOA and London 2012, the joint venture set up with the Greater London Authority and the Government to deal with the bid, are having regular meetings with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to decide on what legislation is needed for ambush marketing.

“There will be some improvements in relation to IP law,” confirmed London 2012 commercial and legal director Charlie Wijeratna.

Wijeratna pointed out that the only way to counter flyposting was to obtain a court order, a process that can take six weeks, which is not very helpful during a 17-day event.

Under the new laws, which it is hoped will come into force in spring 2006, the Olympic symbols and marks will be better protected and it will become unlawful for people to associate themselves or their products with the Games for commercial benefit.

The IP changes accompany the Olympic Bill, which is looking at the development of the infrastructure for the games project.

GB’s Olympic winners
Ben Ainslie, sailing gold
Advisers: Collyer-Bristow (David Becker, Alan Burdon-Cooper)

Matthew Pinsent, rowing gold
Advisers: his agents Professional Sports Partnership

Kelly Holmes, 800m/1,500m golds
Advisers: her agent Jane Cowmeadow

Equestrian team, three-day eventing gold
Advisers: Sara Friend of the BOA advised on its appeal

Stephen Parry, swimming bronze
Advisers: James Chapman & Co (Jason Smith)

Chris Hoy, cycling gold
Advisers: James Chapman & Co (Chris Murray)

Amir Khan, boxing silver
Advisers: Davies Arnold Cooper (Gareth Williams)