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Pepsi Ambush of the FIFA World Cup™ stopped in its tracks

Pepsi Ambush of the FIFA World Cup™ stopped in its tracks Pepsico was ordered to immediately cease the use of an advertisement related to the FIFA World Cup by an Argentinean court on 5 June.

The court found that the prohibited advertisement would cause confusion among consumers as it suggested a "presumed sponsorship relationship" between Pepsico and the FIFA World Cup. The advertisement in question combined the use of the phrase "Tokyo 2002", famous footballers and other football imagery in association with the logo of Pepsico, and the court has ordered Pepsico not to use the ad in TV, printed media or by any other means.

"FIFA regrets that corporations engage in ambush marketing activities, and is particularly disappointed to see a global company like Pepsico employing these below-the-belt techniques that harm the FIFA World Cup - they should know better," commented Patrick Magyar, CEO of FIFA Marketing. "Pepsico should not try to benefit from the event, and knows full well that all marketing rights and benefits of the FIFA World Cup™ are exclusively granted to the Official Partners, Official Suppliers and Licensees, whose significant financial support helps stage this great event and enhances the FIFA World Cup™ experience for fans in Korea and Japan and throughout the world", Magyar went on to explain.

This preliminary order comes on the heels of Pepsico's claims earlier in the week that their advertising will not mention the FIFA World Cup. However, this is not the only promotion related to the FIFA World Cup which has caused Pepsico to be in hot water with FIFA. In Ecuador, FIFA has also instructed counsel to initiate legal proceedings against Pepsico as a result of similar TV commercials. In Mexico, Pepsico is in the midst of negotiations with FIFA to settle a case involving the unauthorised use of the FIFA's trademark-protected emblem of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Most recently, FIFA has identified a case in Russia which involves similar unauthorised uses of FIFA's trademarks, and FIFA is currently investigating potential actions.

The current legal activities against Pepsico's ambush of the event represent a small part of FIFA's worldwide rights protection program. FIFA's rights protection efforts commenced well in advance of the event, beginning with a worldwide trade mark registration programme. The official marks of the event, namely "FIFA World Cup", the Official Mascots, the Official Emblem and the FIFA World Cup Trophy, are now protected thanks to worldwide trademark registration. These measures have been taken to ensure that FIFA is in strong position to protect its rights and the rights of the Official Partners, the Official Suppliers and Licensees.

Since the conclusion of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, FIFA has been cracking down on manufacturers of unauthorised goods and other companies and individuals attempting to "ambush" the 2002 FIFA World Cup through various parasitic activities. The success of this campaign is the result of considerable efforts on the part of the specialised "anti-ambush" team, comprising trade mark specialists, commercial lawyers and sports marketing specialists based in Switzerland as well as in the two host countries, Korea and Japan.

The team has put in place a worldwide network of legal experts in intellectual property and event marketing and has successfully dealt with hundreds of reports of counterfeiting and illegal use of FIFA marks. These lawyers are based in some 80 countries, including many of the areas often associated with the production of counterfeit merchandise, such as Thailand, Pakistan, and Hong Kong. In each of the host countries as well as China, two central legal firms have been appointed to deal with infringements immediately.

Now that the tournament is underway, FIFA has also implemented an on-site strategy. "During the event, Rights Protection Patrol teams at each of the stadia and around the Host Cities are positioned to protect the rights of FIFA and the Official Partners, Official Suppliers and Licensees," explained Magyar. "On match days, teams will monitor specifically-targeted locations immediately around the stadia, including train and subway stations, to identify any illegal ambush or counterfeit activity and bring it to the attention of the authorities. The teams also work closely with the stadium security and local police to ensure that prohibited marketing items do not enter the stadium.

The Official Partners of the 2002 FIFA World Cup are: adidas, Avaya, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Fuji Xerox, Fujifilm, Gillette, Hyundai Motors Co., JVC, KT/NTT Group, MasterCard, McDonald's, Philips, Toshiba and Yahoo!.

The Official Suppliers are: In Korea: Kookmin Bank , Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance (HM&F), Pohang Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. (POSCO), Kumgang Korea Chemical Co. Ltd. (KCC), Korean Air and Lotte Hotel. In Japan: Asahi Shimbun, Nippon Life Insurance, Nissin Food Products, Nomura Securities, Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance, Tokyo Electric.