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Landlords are banned from using Commonwealth name

HOMEOWNERS and landlords looking to cash in on the influx of visitors to Glasgow this summer have been banned from using the words "Commonwealth Games" when advertising accommodation for rent.

Event organisers have told the classified website Gumtree to remove adverts which offer accommodation explicitly referring to the Games in the headline.

The clampdown is the latest sign of the 2014 Games team getting tough with people seeking to make money from the event who are not official sponsors. It comes after controversy over the way the Olympic brand was protected during London 2012.

A spokeswoman for the Games said the move was to discourage fraudsters and stop those seeking accommodation from being given the impression that property has an official connection to Glasgow 2014.

The Commonwealth Games is expected to bring a multi-million windfall for the city, with visitors from all over the globe arriving for two weeks of competition at the end of July.

Hotel rooms are predicted to be booked solid in the weeks around the event, while rented accommodation will be at a premium as landlords raise their rates to share in the bonanza.

Estate agents Countrywide have predicted those making some properties available to visitors for the Games could expect to get between £2000 and £2500 a week, six times the amount a tenant could expect to pay to rent the property on a long-term basis.

However, the ban on classified adverts using the Games name has drawn complaints from prospective landlords and homeowners.

Some placing adverts on Gumtree are getting round the ban by posting them under the heading "Glasgow Games", or "Common Wealth Games". One said: "I can't understand why the Games organisers are trying to cause problems for people advertising their flats - surely this will make it harder for visitors? I don't think it's right they can claim copyright of the word Commonwealth. They are being too heavy-handed."

Another said: "I can see both sides of the debate, ie sponsors who paid to be associated with the Commonwealth name, but if there is no competing sponsor trying to make business in the same area, then is it really necessary?

"It's on Gumtree. There can't be any confusion that it's actually endorsed by the organising committee."

Luke Todd, head of customer operations at Gumtree, said the website was "committed to protecting both buyers and sellers who use our site".

He added: "As such, ads which infringe intellectual property rights, such as copyright and trademark rights, are not permitted on Gumtree.

"Such advertisements are prohibited by law and by our policies. As part of our commitment to safety, we collaborate with the owners of intellectual property rights through our notice and takedown programme, which enables rights owners to alert us to content they claim infringes their intellectual property rights."

Branding authorities at London 2012 drew criticism after swooping on a number of seemingly innocuous targets, including a cafe forced to remove the word Olympic from its name despite using it for years. A bakery also had to take down a display of bagels shaped like the Olympic rings.

Commonwealth Games organisers have already stepped in on at least one occasion to stop people making unauthorised use of the Glasgow 2014 logo.

Last month Marco Giannasi, owner of the The Battlefield Rest restaurant near Hampden, was issued with a letter telling him to take down signs bearing the Commonwealth Games symbol and the message Welcome to Battlefield.

A Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said: "Glasgow 2014 has a responsibility to ensure that unauthorised or fraudulent adverts are not perceived as having any official association with the Games and will only act in cases where we feel there may be confusion, or a danger of customers being misled."

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