Trademark

Even the Olympics enforce trademark law

If you thought you could use the Olympic logo in your marketing campaign, think again.

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are cracking down on U.S. companies’ use of the Olympic trademark. They are specifically targeting companies and brands, including tweets or blog posts about anything Olympics-related (even this post could be in violation of the new rules). Mainstream news organizations are exempt from the restriction.

Other than using the Olympic five-ringed logo, Adweek created a list of trademarked words and phrases to avoid in your content marketing and social media, including:

  • “Olympic”
  • “Olympian”
  • “Team USA”
  • “Rio 2016”

You should also avoid talking about Olympic athletes—or even wishing them luck—on your business channels.

But can the IOC and USOC actually enforce their new regulations? That’s up for debate, and many of us will be watching this topic with interest. The USOC can sue anyone who tries to use their trademark to make money, so if you own a business, you’ll be safest if you avoid talking about the Olympics at all on social media or your blog.

However you feel about whether or not anyone should be able to use the Olympics logo and its related words, this shows the power of registering your trademark. What do you think?