Law firm warns small businesses about World Cup copyright infringement

According to City law firm GSC, small businesses and firms using any of the official World Cup trademarks to sell products could be facing harsh fines for copyright infringement. Unless the right professional indemnity coverage is in place, the substantial fines imposed on small businesses by the likes of FIFA and the FA could be potentially crippling.

Intellectual property expert at GSC, Clive Halpern, has explained how small businesses attempting to cash in on the World Cup tournament could face severe penalties. He warns against using official emblems, mascots, logos or any other trademarks without first gaining permission, whilst also saying:

“Even using phrases such as ‘FIFA World Cup’ and ‘South Africa 2010’ is likely to infringe regulations.”

“If any promotion of your product or service somehow trades off the World Cup, in the wording or imagery that you use, you need to tread extremely carefully,”

Small firms are apparently allowed to refer to the tournament in promotional material, but they must definitely avoid giving the impression that they are official sponsors or are in any way affiliated with FIFA. This applies to images, trademarks and wording.

To avoid legal action, Halperin recommends playing it on the safe side and including a clear disclaimer in all posters and branding.

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