So the Olympics are finally underway after a build up which seems to have lasted forever.
After the spectacular opening ceremony we can all get down to watching wall to wall coverage on the BBC.
The games have also offered lots of opportunities for lawyers. If Jeremy Hunt’s dodgy bell had hit someone there could have been a great personal injury claim –
But the busiest lawyers have been the ones protecting the sponsors. According to one news report today there were two lawyers who followed the famous torch around the UK to protect sponsors against rogue advertising opportunities. According to one member of the Olympic Committee –
"Any ambush advertising or infringement outside the event zone will be addressed. There are two Locog lawyers running all the way with the Olympic torch to make sure that there is no brand ambush or infringement,"
Brand ambush is not as exciting as it sounds. It relates to any opportunist local businesses that might have seen the torch as a chance to promote themselves. And this is something about which the organisers have been very keen to deter. One enterprising butcher in Weymouth was told that his Olympic rings sausage display was illegal as he was not an official sponsor. That story was picked up as far away as New York –
The NYT report also focuses on other more extreme measures taken by the organisers.
I have heard of Ambulance Chasing lawyers but a Torch Chasing Lawyer is a new one. This all makes us look a bit ridiculous. I fail to see how a small butcher in Weymouth is posing any commercial threat to McDonalds or Coca Cola by having 5 rings of sausages. Or how a flaming torch baguette is going to bring Visa to its knees. Would it not have been better to have let things go that were obviously getting into the spirit of the games and doing some harmless promotion in a difficult commercial market.
I think the organisers’ time might have been better used concentrating on getting the right flags, looking after the keys to Wembley and making sure a minister’s bell was not a danger to passers by!