How to Capitalise on the Commonwealth Games: Without Breaching Trademark Laws

With the Commonwealth Games less than one year away, Gold Coast businesses are eager to capitilise on the influx of visitors and revenue set to swarm our coast line.

However, this week a small business for website design has suffered the ire of Commonwealth Games organisers after using official images, video and logos on their travel booking site. The ‘Book Today’ site and its Facebook page feature videos and images of Games mascot ‘Borobi’ holding a sign with the business logo.

Whilst the above conduct may seem harmless, it amounts to a breach of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation’s (‘GOLDOC’) intellectual property rights and offenders proven to have falsely applied a registered trademark could face up to five years’ imprisonment and a $67,045 fine under the federal Trade Marks Act.

This is because only the official commercial partners, sponsors, and licensees of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games are permitted to use such references and images in accordance with the terms of their agreements.

So what are you prohibited from doing with respect to the intellectual property of the Commonwealth Games:

  1. You cannot create or imply an association with the Commonwealth Games through the use of its protected IP, for example, the use of its phrase or imagery without permission.
  2. You cannot put on events or produce printed materials or otherwise distribute publications on the Internet which focus on the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games without permission.
  3. You cannot exploit the interest in the Games by holding events or producing publications for commercial or marketing purposes.
  4. You cannot brand or market an event, activity or program using a combination of ‘Commonwealth Games’ and ‘2018’ or produce merchandise or promotional items that bear the Games emblem, imagery, indicia or other Games’ references.
  5. You cannot brand a product or services as a combination of ‘Commonwealth Games’ and ‘2018’ so as to create an identity that associates itself as part of the brand.
  6. You cannot use any of the content at,, or similar, or any of the IP there such as trademarks, copyrighted material, designs or other imagery unless you have obtained written authorisation from GOLDOC.

Despite the above, you can still provide relevant and factual information pertaining to the Games, which creates a broad avenue for businesses to use the Commonwealth Games to advantage.

If you have any queries regarding how best to capitialise on the Commonwealth Games whilst ensuring you are not exposing yourself to liability for breaching trademark laws, come speak to the friendly team at McLaughlins Lawyers.

Author: Zion Saint

Director: Ian Kennedy

Date: 04/05/2017