Free-riding on World Championship Football

Can you free-ride on the wave of publicity surrounding the World Cup as a company? In principle you can, as long as this is not in conflict with any statutory regulations and no third party’s rights are infringed upon. But, taking into account the large financial interests, FIFA is doing everything possible to keep the goodwill of the World Cup exclusively for its sponsors. That is why FIFA has again registered a huge number of new trademarks (including RUSSIA 2018) and designs. Better not use these (nor variations on them) and do not offer tickets.

In addition to all this, once again special temporary laws have been passed in Russia to kill all forms of slipstream advertising in Russia. Merely suggesting being an associate of the event is considered an infringement. If your ad or campaign is also visible in Russia, check with a local lawyer if this is allowed. If the campaign is only visible in your home country, use neutral elements. For example, the color orange cannot be claimed by anyone, nor can words like 'football' or images of people playing football. But do keep in mind that FIFA defends their rights ever more aggressively, especially on social media. What used to be no problem, is often not allowed anymore.(Images: Tweet M&M’s after elimination of the Dutch team (use neutral elements) (source Twitter) and registered FIFA trademarks and designs Russia2018 (source EUIPO databases).


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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