Thought Leadership

Businesses Beware: Avoid Infringement with Olympics-Related Content

July 12, 2021 Advisory

It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and enthusiasm of the Olympics, but companies and employees should be aware of the rules that govern the use of Olympic related trademarks and copyrights in all social media posts related to the games. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have warned businesses not to create social media posts that are Olympic themed, feature Olympic trademarks or indicia, include games imagery or even congratulate Olympic performance unless the business is an official sponsor.

Just like any trademark owner, the USOC is serious about protecting the quality and integrity of its brand(s). In an effort to increase the value of its sponsorship, the USOC will challenge commercial entities that use the Olympic trademarks without receiving official permission. Unless a company’s primary business is disseminating news and information, social media platforms are considered commercial in nature serving to promote the company (e.g. increase sales). Therefore, violators will be asked to remove the content from the social media site, or they may face legal action from the USOC.

Note that these restrictions do not apply to personal social media accounts (non-business related). Additional guidelines about Olympic brand usage can be found online.

The Tokyo guidelines are also available online.

Our attorneys have experience representing athletes and brands all over the world. Please contact your regular AT attorney or one of our authors listed below if you wish to discuss your specific needs.

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