Great Exhibition 'faces London 2012 legal action'

An art event called the Great Exhibition 2012 says it has had legal action threatened by Olympics organisers over its use of "2012".

The exhibition is due to take place between the Olympic and the Paralympic Games, next August.

Julie Benson, the event organiser, said it was "preposterous" to be asked to withdraw their trademark application.

London 2012 team said it was "legally obliged" to ensure firms did not "create unauthorised association".

Julie Benson, founder of The Great Exhibition Company, based on the Isle of Wight, said she has spent the last 12 years planning the art event, including going through the trademarking process.

'Apparent bullying'

More than £2m has been invested in it by 47 shareholders, including her. The firm's board includes Evelyn Thurlby from the Eden Project.

But she acknowledges that London winning the Games in 2005 led her to plan the timing and the name of the exhibition.

The location is yet to be finalised but it is likely be held outside the capital. The company said it received the letter from London 2012 organisers, Locog, this week.

Ms Benson said: "This apparent 'bullying' from Locog to bring down an event aimed at championing Great Britain and supporting British tourism and industry gives a shocking insight in to the 'true spirit' of the Olympics.

"It's preposterous - they are threatening to take me to court if I don't drop 2012 from my application for the trademark."

She added that if London 2012 proceeded with their legal action after their end of June deadline, the event would become "untenable".

London 2012 confirmed it had challenged the Great Exhibition project over the use of the 2012 tag.

"The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 prevents people from creating an unauthorised association between a person, organisation, business, goods or services and the London 2012 Games," a spokesman said.

"Locog is legally obliged to ensure that businesses are not able to create an unauthorised association with the Games.

"We cannot allow third parties to make a commercial association with the Games and we are unable to comment any further at this stage about a matter which is currently with the Locog legal team."

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