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Kiwis Warned to Not Run Afoul of World Cup Regulations

Issued: January 01 2011

Ordinary New Zealanders and small businesses need to be aware that raffling Rugby World Cup tickets down at the local club, or even creating a piece of art that isn’t authorized, will likely land them in hot water, according to a press release issued by intellectual property management consultancy Zone IP.

Theodore Doucas, a consultant for Wellington-based Zone IP, is warning Kiwis that Rugby World Cup authorities are likely to be as heavy handed as their FIFA counterparts were at the recent Soccer World Cup in South Africa. In South Africa a small businessman was prosecuted for selling key rings with the inscription “2010”, and another for producing football shaped lollipops, prompting an outcry that the tournament’s rules went beyond the norms of democracy.

“The same could well happen here,” said Doucas. “Under the Major Events Management Act 2007, almost every conceivable reference to ‘Rugby World Cup’ and ‘2011’ will be policed and people contravening the Act will almost certainly be sued.”

Doucas also noted that raffling World Cup tickets or offering them as prizes in local fundraisers is illegal.

“A worthy cause is not a defence,” he said. “Some people argue that this type of law contravenes the norms of democracy, but by the same token event organizers want to protect those paying big money for the rights to sponsor the event.” He said there would likely be people who would be tasked with looking for offenders and even references to the ‘you-know-what’ and ‘twentyeleven’ would contravene the Act.

“A bar or restaurant can advertise any games they may be showing on the big screen, so long as they’re careful not to imply any association with the tournament,” he said. “It is a very fine line, and if the South African experience teaches us anything, it will be enforced no matter how small or apparently ‘harmless’ the actions are.”

Doucas said that small businesses will profit from the World Cup, but the reins are held very, very tightly. “Basically, the idea is that nobody can make money out of this tournament unless they have the sanction of the organizers,” he said.

Comvita to Appeal UK Ruling

New Zealand-based medical honey company Comvita will appeal a UK court ruling ordering it to pay costs of up to £400,000 (US$643,000) in a patent dispute.

Comvita sued Brightwake, a company which sells honey-based wound care products in the UK which the company believes violate patents granted in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia. The Patents Country Court in London ruled against Comvita in December and ruled its wound care treatment patent invalid.

“Based upon receiving comprehensive legal advice Comvita will apply to the UK Court of Appeal,” the company said in a statement. “This advice confirms Comvita’s view that the original court ruling is flawed on several grounds to Comvita’s disadvantage and therefore has decided to appeal the decision.”

The appeal could add £100,000 to existing legal bills. A stay on the revocation of Comvita’s patent has been granted by the UK Courts until an appeal (if granted) is heard.


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