|Birmingham National Indoor Arena in 2007|
An "association right" is a monopoly of the commercial exploitation of a major sporting event. It is usually conferred by statute on the body responsible for delivering the event. Governments promise to enact such legislation when one of their cities bids to host the event. An example of the obligation undertaken recently by the Japanese government is to be found in Part VII of the Host City Contract for the 23rd Olympiad dated 7 Sept 2013 between The International Olympic Committee, the City of Tokyo and the Japanese Olympic Committee, I first discussed association rights in Olympics Association Right and London Olympics Association Right in NIPC Law on 31 July 2012.
Parliament has conferred a similar monopoly upon the “Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games Ltd” ("the Organizing Committee") by s.3 (1) of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Act 2020. I discussed that legislation during its passage through Parliament in Birmingham Commonwealth Games Association Right on 12 Jan 2020. It is to be noted that no similar monopoly was conferred upon Glasgow 2014 Limited which delivered the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow by the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2014.
S.9 (1) of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Act 2020 required the Organizing Committee to publish guidance about the operation of the legislation conferring association right within 31 days of the passing of the Act. In accordance with that requirement, the Organizing Committee has published a 14 page booklet entitled Guidance on the Birminghm Commonwealth Games Act Association with the Games. In its Introduction the booklet explained:
"The Commonwealth Games Federation (www.cgf.com) owns the rights to the Commonwealth Games and grants the rights to host the Commonwealth Games to cities based in the Commonwealth, such as Birmingham. When Birmingham was awarded the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games (the “Games”), the UK Government, as part of its hosting commitments, was required to put legislation in place to protect the intellectual property of the Games and the indicia relating to the Games against any unauthorised use, thereby managing public investment in the Games."
It should be made clear at this point that International Olympic Committee owns the intellectual property rights in the Olympic Treaty by virtue of the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol and national legislation such as the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995. There is no equivalent to the Nairobi Treaty or the 1995 Act in favour of the Commonwealth Games Federation. In my previous article I referred to the Commonwealth Games Federation Constitution of 2019. It has been updated by the Federation's constitution of 2019. It has now been updated to October 2020.
The introduction continues:
"!The Act is intended to be proportionate and not unnecessarily restrictive. It will be enforced reasonably with a view to being positive, to enhance the operation and delivery of the Games in Birmingham in 2022, and, not to overly restrict the operation of legitimate local and/or national businesses in the area."
The steps likely to be taken by the Organizaing Committee if it suspects an infringement are set out on page 8 of the guidance. It would try to resolve disputes amicably wherever possible while reserving the right to apply for injunctions, delivery up of infringing materials, damages or an account of profits and costs where necessary. Infringement proceedings could be issued out of the Birmingham District Registry as well as London and applications for interim injunctions could be sought from the judges sitting in Birmingham or other Chancery hearing centres (see CPR 63.13 and para 16 (1) (6) and (2) of the Part 63 Practice Direction).
Page 4 of the guidance explains the effect of the Act in everyday terms. Page 5 identifies the signs that are protected by the legislation. Page 6 explains what is likely to be regarded as representing a connection and also what is not. That is supplemented by a useful appendix of examples of permitted and prohibited usage on pages 12, 13 and 14. Page 10 explains how to obtain authorization to represent a connection with the games. Further information is supplied in the No Marketing Rights Protocol.
Anyone wishing to discuss this article or association rights in general may call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through this form.