Saturday, 5 January 2008

South Africa - limited protection for FIFA

While the DTI didn't give FIFA a red card, it wasn't Father Christmas either when dealing with their request in terms of section 15 of the South African Merchandise Marks Act 1941. Section 15 provides that the Minister may prohibit the use of 'any mark, word, letter or figure' in connection with 'any trade, business, profession, occupation or event'. Some of the words for which FIFA sought this blanket protection included Africa 2010, South Africa 2010, World Cup and 2010. The Minister of Trade and Industry, by General Notice 1791 in Government Gazette 30595 of 14 December 2007, prohibited the use of certain of the requested marks and words. The prohibition
"only applies to activities connected to 2010 FIFA World Cup SOUTH AFRICA in the area of Football or Soccer 2010 FIFA World Cup. The prohibition does not apply to the media, provided the reportage is fair and not imbued with unscrupulous business enterprising".
The phrasing clearly can give rise to further debate, but at least only certain words and devices were given protection [the ones that look as if they could be trade marks] and the limitation on the protection granted, to activities connected to the relevant event, means that ordinary South Africans can refer to their country, the date, and even worlds and cups without running the risk of FIFA's wrath.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

I've heard from Kathrin Vowinckel that the full text of the Notice can be accessed here: