Don't Say 2012 Olympics Unless You've Paid Your Licensing Fee

from the IP-gone-mad dept

The Olympics are notorious for getting local governments to grant them extra special intellectual property rights that go so far beyond what’s reasonable (and local existing laws) that it’s become something of a pure mockery of the concept of intellectual property. Remember how non-sponsored brands found in and around the Olympics in Beijing were covered by tape? Well, that may be nothing compared to what’s going to happen in London. Two years ago, we noted that the Olympics had convinced UK officials to create a special trademark law, just for the Olympics that gave special protections to a variety of terms relating to the Olympics, including 2012, games, gold, silver and bronze. Yes, if you were to say “reach for the gold in 2012” as part of any advertisement and you weren’t an approved Olympic sponsor, you’d be breaking the law in the UK.

Even though this all happened two years ago, it appears that a variety of companies are waking up to how ridiculous this is. A marketing body in the UK has now released a report detailing how draconian the law is for marketers. The one thing that’s still never been explained is why governments would grant these rights — which go well beyond traditional trademark rights — to the Olympics, which isn’t exactly hurting for sponsors. What’s wrong with applying traditional trademark law to the Olympics as well?

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Comments on “Don't Say 2012 Olympics Unless You've Paid Your Licensing Fee”

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To sweeten the deal

London really wanted the olympics in 2012. It wouldn’t surprise me if the olympic delegation lobbied for these changes in order to make London a more attractive location when they were campaigning in singapore.

After all, these changes in law can be sneaked through with relatively little cost to the government and it translates into extra cash for the olympic committee (i wonder where it all goes…)


Re: To sweeten the deal

Correction; the British government wanted the Olympics in 2012. The people of London or the rest of Great Britain aren’t quite as universally enthusiastic. Though since the IOC has apparently bullied us into dropping plans to host events at existing sports facilities around the UK and put the athletes up in London’s many perfectly good hotels in favour of a lot of purpose-built facilities that will languish unused for five years before getting knocked down or sold off to a national chain of gymnasiums or something, it’s now London’s own problem.

bobino boberanosays:

Re: You must have a Gold Account to read this post.

Do not laugh, the game Legend of the Five Rings actually got in trouble for using the five ring design, which teh olympic committee said was a trade mark.

You can read about it on wikipedia

Yakko Warnersays:

Re: Re: You must have a Gold Account to read this post.

Took me a while, but I found a copy of the image in question:

And a link to the “World Intellectual Property Organization” page: Summary of the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol (1981).

<sarcasm>Yeah, I can see how that could possibly be confused with the actual Olympic symbol.</sarcasm>


This is one reason I don’t watch the olympics.
I stopped watching when they went to the every other year format.
These games need to be non-profit (I don’t think they make a profit anyway) and all reporting needs to be free and open.
Anyone who can see or participate in an event should be able to report on it. I’d go so far as to say they should ban pro athletes again, but we know that won’t happen.

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