Formula 1 & co.– Intellectual Property Traps: Rules Only a Few People Know

If you want to play a part in the communication jungle, you have to know what the world is talking about these days. Larger international happenings, such as the Olympic Games, the upcoming Formula 1 season or the 2018 World Cup in Russia, usually offer a nice hook for conversations.

However, it is not always easy to see through the legal requirements and restrictions that usually come with international events. A small copyright infringement can easily lead to high fines. In any case, it is worth reading the organisers' individual guidelines carefully, as some regulations may come as a surprise to some:

Olympic Games

Official Guidelines: Olympic Games

Brands whose ambassadors participate in the Olympic Games have to be careful: During game time, athletes are subject to a retention period for all advertising purposes. This restriction does not just apply to larger advertising campaigns. A logo on a T-shirt on an Instagram posting can be enough to trigger an infringement charge.

For the games of this year, this blocking period lasted from February 1 to 28, with the exception of advertising measures launched three months prior to the blocking period. Those may continue to run during the games. Therefore, planning ahead is quite a good idea in this case.

Word marks should also be handled cautiously. Not only must they not be used in any commercial context, it is also forbidden to use them as a hashtag – so be careful with your retweets!

Formula 1 Grand Prix

Official Guidelines:  Formula 1 Grand Prix

The Formula 1 word marks may be used in any editorial context. However, event titles must always be inserted in CAPITALS to make them stand out. Also,"Formula 1" should never stand alone as a noun, but should always be used along with another noun, for example "Formula 1 driver".

Any use of a word mark on the Internet also requires the insertion of an official disclaimer, which we are happy to provide herewith:

This website is unofficial and is not associated in any way with the Formula 1 companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing B. V."

FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Official Guidelines: FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

When writing about the FIFA World Cup, beware of a copyright trap on Twitter: While fans are allowed to do so, commercial Twitter accounts may not retweet any tweets by FIFA or FIFA partners.

soccer stadium

Also important: The schedules are also owned by FIFA. Although they may be used for information purposes or in an editorial environment, they may never be used anywhere near a company logo.

The official guidelines of international events will help you with some uncertainties. However, if you are planning larger campaigns, it is always best to consult with a legal advisor familiar with the field.

We wish you an exciting and carefree sports season, free of communication "Faux-Pas"!