Adjudicating sartorial elegance from the court – the sumptuary impulse in the law of modern sports sponsorship against ambush marketing

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Abstract

Ambush marketing, sometimes also known as guerrilla marketing, comprises attempts to create an unauthorised association with mega-sporting events (such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup) without obtaining official sponsorship agreements. This article contends that the contemporary law of sports sponsorships against ambush marketing harbours a palpable but much-neglected sumptuary impulse, which has never before been adequately scrutinised. It shows that pre-modern sumptuary law strangely resonates with modern anti-ambush law’s sumptuary obsession with the visual order of symbols and images as prestige signifiers. It also reveals an ongoing ‘intellectual property’ turn in the recent development of sumptuary anti-ambush law-making, whose ambition is to reify sports-derived sumptuary distinction into a thing-in-itself for nearly absolute ‘property’ protection. My argument is illustrated by a carefully selected number of ambush disputes including Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) v Telstra, which represents the latest development in this field of law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62–86
Number of pages25
JournalQueen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • ambush marketing
  • sports sponsorship IP law
  • sumptuary code
  • dress code
  • Barton Beebe
  • Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter
  • trade marks and brands
  • Olympic Games

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