April 29, 2011

Dealing with Ambush Marketing in Thailand

Asia IP

Ambush marketing is one of the emerging issues wherein the boundaries of permissible unauthorized event-based advertising and promotion are being tested. In recent years, there have been numerous occasions worldwide where conflicts have arisen between organizations that stage proprietary high-profile events and various unaffiliated companies which try to benefit from the popularity and excitement surrounding these events. While those unaffiliated companies maintain that they have a right to make references to a high-profile event in their advertising and promotional materials as long as the public does not become confused that the advertiser is an official sponsor of the event, event organizers continue to argue that these types of “free ride” activities constitute a violation of their exclusive rights and are thus against the law. The crux of the problem is how to distinguish between permissible references to a proprietary event and those references which infringe on an event organizer’s intellectual property rights, such as trademark rights. Ambush marketing can be seen as a violation of exclusive rights and/or unfair exploitation of goodwill of others, but can also be regarded as a form of free market activity, which ought to be permissible.

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