The International Olympic Committee Has Already Staked A Trademark Claim On The Number '2014'

from the 2015-still-entertaining-offers... dept

Man, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sure loves its trademarks. Many, many, many, many, many, many, many cases of the IOC's fierce brand protection have been detailed here, including taping over non-sponsor logos and seeking the power to enter homes to remove "unapproved signage." This has also rubbed off on a few Olympians, triggering trademark office filings to protect made-up words stolen from middling hip hop artists and self-given nicknames.

Via the IPKat we learn that the IOC has already locked down next year in preparation for the Winter Olympics. No, seriously. A trademark on the number "2014," which non-coincidentally happens to be a (lesser) Olympic year, has been granted by the UK's Intellectual Property Office.
The IPKat's attention has been drawn to Community Trade Mark E3307444. The mark in question consists of the number "2014", which no-one would ever imagine to be the appellation by which next year might just be known. Applied for in 2003 and registered in 2005, this mark is owned by none other than the Comité International Olympique of Château de Vidy, Lausanne.
So, with the kind of efficiency you only find in the most brutal of trademark bullies, the IOC has trademarked a number many people were planning to use starting next January, nine years in advance. And the IOC isn't leaving anything to chance. It has staked a claim on all 45 of the possible registration classes, including (but good god, certainly not limited to) chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals/alloys, machines, tools, scientific equipment, surgical instruments, lighting, heating, vehicles, firearms, musical instruments, furniture, ropes, tarps, string, textiles, toys, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, beer, other alcoholic beverages, tobacco, insurance, conferences and seminars, design and development of computer programs, restaurant services, asbestos and security.

Anything and everything possibly covered by a registered trademark has been nailed down by the Committee, making it very possible that anyone using the number "2014" in the year 2014 might find themselves dealing with the IOC's trademark cops. IPKat suggests a workaround:
The IPKat doesn't feel he can safely use 2014 in the course of trade, so he has decided to call it "2013+1". Merpel isn't sure that this will work. The first three digits of 2014 also begin "2013" and, as is well known in decisions of the General Court and the Boards of Appeal of OHIM, consumers are likely to pay more attention to the beginning of a mark than to its end unless there's a good reason why they won't …
Does this mean that the IOC now has the power to go after anyone in an industry simply for using "2014?" Probably not, but the IOC certainly hasn't shown any willingness to curtail its overreach either. So it will probably be a mixture of the standard IOC branding aggressiveness coupled with a few instances of IOC branding WTF-ness, much of which we'll probably see covered here.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 6:55am

    "surgical instruments"

    'The official surgical instrument sponsor of the 2014 Olympics' just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

    "firearms"

    In the UK? Gonna be some issues with that, I think...

    "asbestos"

    ...
    ...
    ...wait, what? You have got to be kidding, right? I'd make a witty remark, but 1) my brain is now broken and 2) that is absurd enough to not even need one.

     

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    Gothenem (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Just wow.

    Honestly, this seems so incredibly moronic, that I actually hope that they try to enforce that trademarked number, only to have their trademark completely rendered invalid by a court. I assume that any judge with more than 0 brain cells can figure out that trademarking a NUMBER which coincides with the YEAR is a blatant overreach of the trademark system. Perhaps it can lead to trademark reform...

     

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      identicon
      out_of_the_blue, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:36am

      Re: Just wow.

      omg just suck it up, their rich and powerful they can trademark whatever they want if they want to trademark mike's ass tomorrow you need to just go along with it, learn your place peasant

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:01am

        Out of the blue

        Is this the real out_of_the_blue? Seems too obvious a troll for the real out_of_the_blue. I smell a trademark infringement lawsuit coming from Out Of The Blue 2014™

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:42am

          Re: Out of the blue

          Actually I am pretty sure that this comment falls in line with most of his other comments. The guy has got some very progressive standpoints. Normally they are just hidden behind his sass and derogatory statements about someone called Mike.

           

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          out_of_the_blue (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:18am

          Re: Out of the blue

          I'm the /real/ out_of_the_blue. That bastard freetard stole my screen name. Pirate Mike is so busy pushing his pirate agenda that he can't even put proper security measures in place on the forms.

           

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            no_one_important, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:15pm

            Re: Re: Out of the blue

            For reference (or until the aforementioned "security measures" are put in place), note the "(profile)" link after the nick of the /real/ out_of_the_blue and lack there of after the fake one.

             

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              identicon
              out_of_the_blue, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Out of the blue

              For more reference, note that the real out_of_the_blue never had a profile. In fact, that was the profile's very first comment. For all you know, it could be yet another different person who registered the name. It's almost like you can sign any name you want to your comments!

               

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:17am

        When rich people piss off other rich people

        Isn't GM supposed to come out with a new corvette in 2014? I can't wait for that ad campaign to roll out.

        Who has more clout, or more likely more iron workers

         

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    crade (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    I'm not sure how much they will be able to screw people with this trademark, but as usual you can be sure they will use it to screw people as much as they possibly can.

     

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      Atkray (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      "I'm not sure how much they will be able to screw people with this trademark"

      Answer: Plenty.

      Any company without a stable of lawyers will fold when confronted by the guaranteed mountain of paperwork the IOC will drop at their doorstep.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    Getyou sweet juicy 2014 olympic asbestos.

    Gold award winning 2014 Olympic asbestos

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:38am

    I thought trademarks were supposed to be for a brand or specific picture/representation of something in order to protect the consumer from confusing it with another product. How could anyone possibly a) connect "2014" to the Olympics and b) confuse someone's use of "2014" as them trying to piggyback off the Olympics?

    I should really look into Trademarking as many english words as possible and start licensing them to people to use on an everyday basis. I could hire Prenda Law to represent me and sit back and let the cash flow in!

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    I'm confused

    I thought that a mark had to be actively used in commerce in order to qualify as a trademark in a particular category. Does this mean there are, in fact, Olympic-branded surgical tools on the market?

     

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      New Mexico Mark, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:33am

      Re: I'm confused

      You betcha! I can see the ad copy now... "Emasculation of all rights to free expression performed in record time using IOCs patented (and of course trademarked) 2014 Olympics Surgical Tool Kit(tm). Anyone who passes up this opportunity would have to be nuts!!"

       

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      Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:36am

      Re: I'm confused

      Our Anastomosis Clamp will clamp down as hard as we do on trademark infringement!

       

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      McCrea (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:22am

      Re: I'm confused

      Well, if there are not any, then they won't be challenged, so it's moot.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re: I'm confused

        No, the other way around. If the Olympic Committee doesn't have any (for example) surgical tools using the mark, then the mark isn't valid, unless I'm mistaken.

        But this is unlikely to ever be ruled on, as it would take a pretty large warchest to be able bring the challenge to court regardless of its validity.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:03am

    MPAA

    The MPAA is going to be pissed when they find themselves infringing on the IOC's trademark by labeling something with:

    "Copyright 2014"

     

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  •  
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    Jessie (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Happy new year

    Happy e^7.60787807

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Beech, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:16am

    I think the publishers of calendars may have a rough time next year...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:17am

    Welcome to year [CENSORED], the year of [CENSORED] in the Olympics.

    Other major events occurring in [CENSORED] include the following.
    -[CENSORED] midterm elections in the US
    -[CENSORED] report cards for students
    -[CENSORED] annual earning reports by every business in the world
    -[CENSORED] causing [CENSORED + 1] to be applied for and accepted by the UK's Intellectual Property Office

     

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      identicon
      Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      Welcome to year [CENSORED], the year of [CENSORED] in the [CENSORED].

       

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    •  
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      DannyB (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      Despite your liberal use of the word "censored", your post is a trademark infringement because it uses that accursed word starting with Oly and ending with "pics" separated by an "m".

       

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        identicon
        Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:44am

        Re: Re:

        Despite your liberal use of the word "censored", your post is a trademark infringement because it uses that accursed word starting with [CENSORED] and ending with "pics" separated by an "m"

        Once again, the courts have established that people tend to pay more attention to the beginning of a mark, so the use of those three letters is questionable. Please send your check to the IOC immediately.

         

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        Jeff (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re:

        Wasn't the letter 'm' withheld because of orgasmic contents or something like that???1/!?

         

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    Yakko Warner (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    No more Quicken nag screens?

    Now Quicken will be unable to try to coerce me into upgrading to Quicken 2014. A year reprieve from having to click "No Thanks" and "Do not remind me again (today)" before I can pay my bills.

     

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    Richard (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Microsoft Office, Visual Studio etc

    So - no new version in 2 years - it's an ill wind....

     

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    drewdad (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Let's just trademark "TM"

    Yo, dawg. I heard you like trademarks, so I put a trademark in your trademark so that I can brand while you brand.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Titania Bonham-Smythe, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Time for a brand new calendar?

    What would really piss those Olympic people off is if everyone else decided to change to a new calendar system just to spite them.

    The simplest thing would be to just switch to hexadecimal but retain the 2014, which would make it 7de.

    Or we could convert to binary: 11111011110

    Or how about just starting again and make 2014 be the year 0 TYTOCFEO (The Year The Olympic Committee Fucked Everyone Off). I realise it doesn't have the brevity of BC or AD but it would make us all feel better about ourselves.

     

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      identicon
      Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:46am

      Re: Time for a brand new calendar?

      Don't use Roman numerals or the NFL will come after you.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:41pm

      Re: Time for a brand new calendar?

      No, I think that you should spite them by gifting them custom calendars and use the aforementioned funny number systems, leaving a note saying that we really respect their decision and are not giving them proper numbers for fear of being sued.

       

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    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    So is MMXIV ok? I knew there was a reason the movie industry continued to use Roman Numerals.

    I wonder how the bank will feel when I complete the date on a check as April 15, MMXIV.

     

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      identicon
      Michael, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:47am

      Re:

      The NFL probably already took that for the superbowl.

      Sorry.

       

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        identicon
        Mr. Applegate, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re:

        Fine I will use:

        0x7DE (2014 in Hex)
        3736 (2014 in Octal)
        11011110 (2014 in Binary)

        I will also trademark all sequences between 1388534400 and 1420070399 (Unix Timestamp)

        Then I can go after anyone who stores computer logs (on a unix or linux machine), or the number 2014 in a computer.

        Come to think of it I will just TM 0 and 1, that will cast a wider net.

         

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    McCrea (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Mount Olympia

    Well, I sure hope they had the foresight to copyright "Caucasian" for the coming events.

     

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    johnny canada, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    I am going out and Trademark/Copyright all even years for the next century just to screw with the IOC

     

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    McCrea (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    2014 Fireworks

    Owning the rights to all the 2014 Fireworks is a big hit. Both New Years around Dec 31, 2013 and Jan 1, 2015 will be infringing, and other such event's just as Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, et al.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    Party like it's 1999

    "The first three digits of 2014 also begin "2013"..."

    1999+15

    Can I fill out my checks that way?

     

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    Richard (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    FIFA (World Cup 2010+4)

    Haven't they already got it???

     

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    identicon
    matt C, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    short memories

    umm...you cant copyright a number, at least not in the U.S just ask Intel. (remember that whole 586/pentium thing?)

     

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    identicon
    2014, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    2014 Year of the pedophile

    I see the UK government is now completely under the control of corporations. What a fucking shithole, and the Olympics are simply the future of corporate interests taking over and trampling our personal rights. Enjoy mother fuckers

     

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    gorehound (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:48pm

    Simple Reply.............

    FUCK YOU COPYRIGHT MAXIMALISTS !

     

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    Zeissmann (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 2:43pm

    I guess MMXIV will see our return to good old trusty Roman numerals.

     

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    Trevor (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 3:28pm

    Stig

    Will any European car makers be able to label their vehicles as 2014 models?

    THINK OF THE RAMIFICATIONS
    ...oh wait, I just saw a 2014 BMW 750li drive down the street, so by then the 2015 car of the year should already be topping sales...

    Does this mean car companies have even BETTER efficiency than the IOC?

    Have you ever driven a Ford or Peugeot?

     

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    Bergman (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:55pm

    Oddly prescient Simpsons episode...

    I recall seeing a Simpsons episode where Grandpa Simpson is giving and example of how old farts distract younger folks with stories that don't go anywhere.

    In particular the phrase "Now my story begins in 19-dickety-two. We had to say 'dickety' cause the Kaiser had stolen our word 'twenty'. I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles."

    In 1996 it was absurdist comedy. In 17 years later it's horrifying reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Alana (profile), Jan 28th, 2013 @ 6:53pm

    NO, MY PRECIOUS TRAIN SIMULATOR 2014! /s

     

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    Isaac the K (profile), Jan 29th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    DANG IT!

    including (but good god, certainly not limited to) chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals/alloys, machines, tools, scientific equipment, surgical instruments, lighting, heating, vehicles, firearms, musical instruments, furniture, ropes, tarps, string, textiles, toys, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, beer, other alcoholic beverages, tobacco, insurance, conferences and seminars, design and development of computer programs, restaurant services, asbestos and security.


    Damn. Now I have to figure out a different number to market my new invention: a surgical grade, titanium, liquor firing gun with an attached micro/telescope (for precision in the operating room AND on the battle field).

    Sigh.

    Clearly, people might get confused between the Beer Boomstick 2014 and an Alpine skiing event.
    Understandable, really.

     

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    identicon
    Dave, Jan 29th, 2013 @ 11:59am

    Hogwash

    In Dawkins' name, how on earth did they get a trademark on a f*****g number? This is total madness. So anyone bringing out a product in 2014 cannot use the year it was first produced as part of a name for it? Words fail me.

     

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    McCrea (profile), Feb 4th, 2013 @ 11:59pm

    Watch your language

    If you read the case, it's only trademarked in French and English.

    I don't always write "2014", but when I do, I do it in Spanish. http://shar.es/YnExL

     

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    identicon
    Rouse, Apr 14th, 2013 @ 4:54pm

    London 2012 Olympic & Paralympics logo infringed on my iZ rouse logo!!!

    In Feb of 2011 we were contacted via email by a iZ rouse consumer, asking if we had seen the London 2012 Olympic Logo? Looks like your iZ (R) rouse logo, infringement...Wolf Olins the design firm who sold the 2012 logo to LOCOG was exposed to our logo in New York back in 2006...We have brought this to the IOC and LOCOG attention and they deny the similarities. See it for yourself at twitter.com/rouse or www.rockrouse.com. People all over the world see the R" and someone kneeling, which is the substance of our logo, a prayer symbol, and the iZ (R) for rouse, not 2012 they claim it to be...It's a serious deal when they do what they don't want others to do to them, and take extreme measures and money to inforce protection, but out right alter my design and pass it off as theirs..You reap what you sow! God Bless, God has the power to give the people the TRUTH

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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      identicon
      Rouse, Apr 14th, 2013 @ 5:03pm

      Re: London 2012 Olympic & Paralympics logo infringed on my iZ rouse logo!!!

      PLEASE CHECK OUT twitter.com/rousewear TO SEE THE 2012 London Olympic & Paralympic Games logo / iZ rouse LOGO SIMILARITIES...THIS IS THE TRUTH!!!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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