FIFA protects its intellectual property

Zürich, 1 December 2001 - As the world’s greatest single sports event, the FIFA World Cup™ also represents an exceptional marketing platform. FIFA has signed exclusive agreements with a select group of 15 Official Partners, namely adidas, Anheuser-Busch, Avaya, Coca-Cola, FujiFilm, Fuji Xerox, Gillette, Hyundai, JVC, Korea Telecom/NTT, MasterCard, McDonald’s, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo! These corporations, along with the Official Suppliers, Licensees and Broadcasters, are the only commercial entities allowed to claim any direct association with the 2002 FIFA World Cup™.

Accordingly, FIFA has established a closely controlled marketing programme for the benefit and protection of the Official Partners, Suppliers and Licensees who give their financial and value-in-kind support to the event, in return for a package of exclusive marketing rights.

FIFA Marketing AG is now responsible for the activities linked to the 2002 FIFA World Cup™, which will take place from 31 May – 30 June next year. Founded in July 2001, FIFA Marketing AG is the new marketing arm of world football’s governing body and is working in conjunction with KOWOC and JAWOC, the local organizing committees of the two host countries, to deliver the packages to the 15 Official Partners, while at the same time protecting them from so-called “ambush marketing”.

Ambush marketing can be defined as the unauthorized association of a business or an organization with the FIFA World Cup™. Many companies try to “hitch a free ride” without making a financial contribution to secure the event and the game of football in general. FIFA has implemented a series of initiatives to ensure delivery of the rights, and to make sure that they, along with the event itself, are not undermined in any way. Efforts to stop the illegal use of FIFA’s intellectual property are well underway.

However, a small minority of businesses around the world have already been using FIFA World Cup™ emblems, mascots, logos and trademarks without permission, which is a clear infringement of FIFA’s intellectual property rights. To date, such infringements have primarily involved counterfeit product such as footballs, replica jerseys and other merchandising products. These types of counterfeit, parasitic activities can seriously undermine the integrity of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ marketing programme. FIFA can only stage a successful FIFA World Cup™ with the support of Commercial Affiliates, who invest finance and time, while providing other invaluable services.

In addition to FIFA’s worldwide Rights Protection Program, which involves an international network and the input of intellectual property and ambush marketing experts, FIFA has also established 2002 FIFA World Cup™ Anti-Counterfeiting Committees (ACC) in both Korea and Japan. The ACCs include representatives from FIFA, FIFA Marketing AG, KOWOC, JAWOC and an extensive number of government bodies and authorities, including national police agencies, customs, patent offices, ministries and the department of public prosecutions. Their objective is to crack down on counterfeit trade and the unauthorized use of FIFA World Cup™ trademarks on products, signs, branding, advertisements and promotions.

Thousands of counterfeit products have already been identified and destroyed in coordinated raids and seizures by authorities across the world. In some instances, producers of counterfeit products have been jailed and may be subject to sentences of up to 5 years. In other cases, counterfeiters have faced severe fines, leading to their financial bankruptcy.

The continuing efforts of FIFA, the two organizing committees, and the ACCs will help to ensure the success of the event in both host countries, as well as the long-term growth and sustainability of the FIFA World Cup for the benefit of fans all over the world.


Enquiries to be addressed to:
FIFA Media Office
Tel: +41-1/254 9800
Fax: +41-1/384 9696

FIFA Communications Division
Zürich, 1 December 2001