As the Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, our cross-practice team worked behind the scenes across numerous legal projects to help bring the international sporting event to life. In this video, principal associate Kate Hawkins discusses her secondment as a brand protection manager.


Kate Hawkins: Being the Official Legal Advisers to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has been a fantastic opportunity for Gowling WLG to be involved in this great moment in history and in sport. So as an IP lawyer, I was really proud to take on the role as brand protection manager for nine months last year. This role involved working closely with a number of teams within the Organising Committee. So whether that be to develop, exploit and protect the Games' brand assets and their marketing rights, as well as advising on a number of advertising law issues.

So whether that be the launch of the ticketing campaign or the unveiling of Perry, the Mascot, as well as the sustainable messaging that the OC wants to run and a number of other advertising law issues. I was also really heavily involved in helping the government put in place some special purpose secondary legislation, which was called the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Advertising and Trading Regulations 2021. These regulations provide the OC with a number of additional protections, so it helps them to protect their brand, it also helps protect the exclusive rights of the Games' sponsors, as well as ensuring that there is a celebratory look and feel across the Games' locations and the city centre.

And the way the regulations work is they put in place some measures which really restrict who can advertise and trade around those Games, competition venues, the athlete's villages and within the Birmingham City Centre itself.

So as part of the formation of the regulations, the Government issued a consultation to the local authorities and interested stakeholders, which I was very involved in and this consultation really addressed the proposed measures that would be set out in the regulations.

I also undertook a number of site visits to the Games' competition venues in the athletes' villages. I prepared the draft maps which show in a visual format where these measures will be in place, provided feedback and really assisted in the drafting of the regulations, including the exceptions to the restrictions which are set out in these regs and really took them through the clearance process, both internally within the Organising Committee and assisting with the, kind of, broader clearance process to get these regulations finalised.

Given what these regulations are designed to do, which is to protect and enhance the Games brand, protect those exclusive rights of the Games' sponsors, It was really important to ensure that these regulations are robust and in place well before Games time.

It's been brilliant to step back from the day-to-day work, and just think to myself, I've been working on the Commonwealth Games, something I don't think I'll probably get to do again in the future so I've really appreciated the chance to work on it this time and I cannot wait for it to take place this summer.

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