Can you say W**** C** in South Africa?

The IPKat is puzzled by a story on It reports that the SA National Editors Forum (Sanef) is objecting to the registration of FIFA 2010 as a trade mark as unconstitutional. South Africa is the venue of the 2010 World Cup, and the members of Sanef appear to be afraid that the registration will prevent them from being able to report on the event. They point out that media exposure is vital to the success of the tournament, saying:
"In other words the media claims that it has provided, and continues to provide, a major boost to the commercial value FIFA derives from its trademarks and therefore no attempt should be made to penalise it."
Consequently, Sanef is seeking a blanket exemption from liability for the media.

The IPKat is rather confused. Generally descriptive use is not caught by trade mark infringement, and even if it is, descriptive uses are usually covered by a defence. Has South Africa really gone so far as to impose an absolute ban on the use of names associated with the 2010 World Cup? Perhaps a South African reader can enlighten him.

(For the avoidance of emails from offended readers W**** C** is meant to mean World Cup, and nothing more sinister) .
Can you say W**** C** in South Africa? Can you say W**** C** in South Africa? Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, August 02, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Perhaps SANEF is concerned that FIFA has learned a few tricks from its colleagues in the USA. The "National Football League" routinely behaves as if nobody but the NFL and its authorized corporate sponsors have the right to use the term SUPER BOWL to refer to the annual championship game ... single-handedly trying to eliminate the notion of nominative fair use of trademarks.

  2. The Fifa trade mark request includes the following words:

    2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

    World Cup 2010
    RSA 2010
    Football World Cup
    FIFA World Cup

    South Africa 2010
    SA 2010
    2010 FIFA World Cup

    Africa 2010
    Soccer World Cup
    World Cup
    South Africa World Cup
    All names of all SA venue cities with the figure 2010 behind them
    Twenty Ten
    World Cup South Africa
    Confederations Cup
    Win in Africa for Africa
    Football for a Better World

  3. Sanef might be better off reading what FIFA actually says in their Public Information Sheet (PDF), pages 25 and 26 in particular.


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