Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The legal hurdles of the Games

Unless you have been in outer space for the last 7 years, you will be well aware that the Olympics began with a bang last weekend. Whether you see them as a fantastic opportunity to showcase the UK, or an expensive inconvenience, they give rise to a number of legal considerations.

We have all been invited to 'join in' with the Olympics. However, one Staffordshire florist found out the hard way that the party comes with strict doormen. Trading Standards officers ordered her to remove a window display depicting the Olympic rings as it was a breach of trademark. A similar fate befell an elderly lady who knitted a doll for sale at a local fĂȘte as the doll was wearing a top displaying those same rings. As you can imagine, sections of the national press were up in arms!

While these are more extreme examples of intellectual property protection, every corporate client will have some form of intellectual property to protect: from brand logos (such as the rings), to inventions and industrial processes. The corporate and commercial practice are able to offer advice on both how to protect newly created intellectual property rights and to assist with assigning or licensing pre-existing rights. Should your intellectual property rights be infringed, our litigation and dispute resolution lawyers are able to assist with enforcing them.

The Olympics also raise important employment considerations. In spite of the debate over the ticket distribution, it turns out that some people actually have tickets for Olympic events. Even those who weren't so lucky may have volunteered as 'Gamesmakers', or might be planning to watch certain events at home. This will cause employers headaches as they try to deal with a large number of employees requesting annual leave during the same period. It is important to formulate a plan in advance of the event, such as whether to give priority to employees who are working as volunteers, those with tickets to events or those who submit their leave requests first.

Similar considerations arise (albeit on a smaller scale) for large local or national events such as international football tournaments, race meetings and annual music festivals. It is important to ensure that you have well drafted policies in place to deal with events which can cause disruption to the operation of the business. These range from flexible working or home working policies, through to disciplinary policies in respect of unauthorised absences. Our employment lawyers are well versed in advising clients on the best approach and drafting the appropriate policies.

Now all that's left to do is sit back, relax and cheer on Team GB!

Posted by William Key, trainee in the litigation and dispute resolution practice.

William Key -

William started his training contract with B P Collins LLP in January 2011. He graduated from the University of Leicester obtaining first class honours in Law, before undertaking the LPC at Nottingham Law School gaining a distinction. Outside of the office his interests include supporting Coventry City FC, cricket, snowboarding and travel.

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