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Monday 10 May 2010

Patricia Covarrubia

Brazil World Cup and Olympics

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Last week, the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) in Brazil launched two websites for the disclosure of expenditures and contracts relating to: first the 2014 World Cup and second, the Olympics in 2016.

It is reported that the tools “will allow the citizens a more effective control of spending the public resources invested”. This is so, according to the source, because through the websites all bids, contracts and projects will be available. Thus, any citizen who identifies any irregularity in the proceedings may make a complaint.

I cannot wait to start watching this. I honestly cannot believe that we will witness the ‘battle of the brands’. Who will be the higher bidder? Pepsi or Coca-cola; Adidas, Reebok or Nike; Visa or American Express; or are we going to see a national bidder or a Mercosur one like Coca-colla (from Bolivia)?

In the same line, Brazil and England signed on May 6, in Rio de Janeiro, an agreement that will allow exchanging information on the organization of the Olympic Games. As you know, any city that holds the Olympic Games needs to sign a contract between the International Committee and the Authority o the country and its Olympic Association. In this contract not only the general planning of the games are set up but all requirements including intellectual property rights.

Usually, the majority of the income of the operating budget comes from official sponsorship and marketing. Thus, to reassure official sponsors and commercial partners that their investment is worthwhile there is a set of rules (an Act) that must be introduced. For example, London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games is the one that grants exclusive rights to official sponsors, licensees and partner to use Olympic IPRs and to associate themselves with the games. To this effect they are also responsible for protecting the official brands in the UK. Special laws have been passed to give extra protection to some of the Games' Marks (Protection Act 1995 (OSPA)) not only protecting the Olympic and Paralympics’ symbols, mottos and various words; but also a more specific legislation that prevents the creation of an unauthorised association between people, goods or services and London 2012 (the ‘2006 Act’).

Brazil has already passed the Olympic Act (Law no 12035/2009) but I just wonder whether they are already working on a more specific legislation regarding the protection of brands.

A moment ago I remembered an old advertisement for the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer in 1994. The ad was promoted by American Express and the official sponsor was VISA. The ad went like this: ‘if you are travelling to Lillehammer, you’ll need a passport, but you do not need a VISA’. That is just classic!

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia