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Statement regarding AOC v Telstra judgment

25 October 2017

AOC: Prior to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the AOC commenced proceedings against Telstra in relation to an extensive marketing campaign promoting the availability of live events streamed from the Rio Olympics.

After an urgent hearing, the Federal Court found against the AOC based on the particular facts of the case. The AOC appealed and today the Full Court has declined to overturn the earlier decision. The AOC is disappointed with the result.

Action was taken in this case in order to support our Olympic sponsors and in particular the investment made by our exclusive telecommunications sponsor, Optus.

The judgment does not mean that businesses generally can engage in Olympic themed advertising. It dealt with very specific facts. Telstra had entered into an agreement with Channel Seven, the exclusive Australian broadcaster of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and Telstra’s conduct was held to be permissible in that context. The Court viewed Telstra’s ads as suggesting sponsorship of Seven’s Olympic broadcast rather than of the Rio Games.

The AOC receives no government funding and relies entirely on sponsorship to send our Olympic teams to the Games. It will continue to prioritise protection of the investment our sponsors make and to take action against those seeking to capitalise on the Olympic movement without authority.

We value Seven as a long term broadcaster of the Olympic Games and sponsor of the AOC and we look forward to continuing to work with them for the benefit of the Olympic movement as we approach the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and beyond.

Chief Executive Officer
Australian Olympic Committee

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