IOC Forces School To Remove Rings From Crest For Some Reason

from the champions-of-bullying dept

Have you thought about the Olympics lately? No? Then I guess you didn’t drive past any of the tiny little schools in this itty bitty school district in the Poconos in Pennsylvania that serves a population of almost twenty-five thousand whole people, because, if you had, the International Olympic Committee is quite certain you would have been all, “Oh, look, that must be a school run by the Olympics for some reason.” Otherwise, the IOC’s pressuring the district to re-draw this district crest would make no sense.

You can probably spot the source of the problem immediately. It’s those damned rings at the top-left, of course, and the IOC ain’t happy that some stupid little learning institution could think that those rings could be incorporated in a logo. After all, the Olympics has nothing to do with learning, with a cooperative spirit, or with domestic institutions. Which is exactly what has me questioning why there is any trademark standing to begin with. After all, the two entities aren’t competing in any kind of marketplace and the IOC, notoriously trademark-protect-y, has allowed the Wallenpaupack’s district crest to exist since the 1970’s.

Now, however, the IOC has convinced the school district that it must come up with a new crest. Quite unfortunately, the IOC even appears to have district officials convinced that the trademark claim is all super-legitimate.

“They obviously have a legitimate concern. It’s a trademarked item. We do have to come up with a plan of phasing it out,” said Superintendent Michael Silsby. Phasing out the rings because Silsby said an attorney for the U.S. Olympic Committee called last week, saying the school could no longer use the rings to represent athletics.

No, that isn’t a legitimate concern, even if narrowly applied to athletic teams, because there’s no commerce or competition here. This was simply the IOC, through the domestic USOC, bullying a school because it felt like it. Or maybe the USOC lawyers found some downtime and decided to fill it up smacking around schools. Either way, nothing about this is born out of a legitimate concern.

The district is reportedly going to have students create the new crest, which is all well and good, but that doesn’t remove the bile from my mouth over the USOC’s actions. You folks must be so proud…

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Comments on “IOC Forces School To Remove Rings From Crest For Some Reason”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I actually have no problems with the IOC requiring everyone not part of the IOC from not using the rings logo, the “olympics” name, and similar branding — eventually, nobody will know anything about the IOC, and they will fade into history. After all, with no visibility in everyday life, chilren will no longer aspire to “win gold” at an IOC event. Pretty much every sport has a world competition now; if people stop trying to be a part of the IOC events because they know pretty much nothing about them, that gives more time and money to the global sporting events that DO care about people.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“the “olympics” name”

The problem is that “Olympic,” “Olympia,” etc. are ancient historical names that have been in common use before the Olympics were a big deal. There are many people and businesses that have been forced to stop using the name even though their use was unrelated to the Olympic Games. It’s just wrong to demand that they stop using the term.

twits says:

twits in charge

Obviously the result of having idiots in charge of everything again as usual. Idiots are in charge and unless you get rid of those fucking idiotic idiots then nothing is going to change. Everything is just going to get worse, you will see as idiots cannot do anything constructive. Backwards we go forever you will see. Fucking god damm fucking idiots cunts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You don’t use someone else’s trademark IN THE SAME TRADE. That’s the point of the article. The school district is not in the same trade as the IOC. Arguably, the district isn’t even in a trade unless it is a for-profit district. The point of trademarks are to prevent consumer confusion. Please explain to the rest of the class how this could possibly confuse anyone.

John says:

Campaign to bankrupt the IOC

If enough people and businesses start using rings (crossed out) in their websites, store fronts etc, it will cost the IOC a fortune. Their legal bills will be enormous after a few months of backwards and forwards using standard letters defending our right to use the rings as we aren’t in competition with the IOC business so there is no confusion. No need to fight it in courts where legal costs pervent normal people getting justice. The standard procedure is to write heaps of letters for them to respond to with their $500 per hour lawyers & then come to an agreement that you will stop using it.

If enough people did this & combined it with a social campaign “crushed by the IOC”, then maybe we can convince the IOC that they are harming their brand more than a school with some rings in their logo.

As far as the school is concerned I think its good that they are changing their logo. Who would want their school associated with such a corrupt & profit focused organisation??

Oblate (profile) says:

They should change it to be appropriate anyway

The other symbols on the crest seem to represent things that have value to the community, such as the theater, education (or book burning, can’t be sure from that picture), and I’m guessing some local lake (though it could represent leaky plumbing or water sports, again can’t be sure). They should replace the Olympic logo (apparently representing crass commercialization) with something that actually represents athletics or some other positive concept.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Isn't there a real argument here though?

It depends. Trademark is less restrictive than copyright. There are many ways you can legally use something trademarked by someone else for your own stuff.

For example, trademarks only apply to specific product categories. If I trademark my logo for a kind of cereal, that does not prevent someone else from using the same logo for sporting goods. This is a general rule — there are complexities like “trademark dilution” than can turn such use into an infringement. As with most legal things, what is actually allowed or not can be pretty uncertain.

Photographer Who References Camera Name says:


I just recently deleted all my artwork and photos from Zazzle’s web site because they claimed I violated their TOS agreement. When I asked what/why, I hwas advised it was because I had posted two photographs of beach scenes three years previously, and had indicated in the caption that the photos were taken with a Leica 35mm camera. The two offending photos were removed by Zazzle, without my consent.

After three years, someone at Leica complained that no one on Zazzle’s site could use the word Leica. Thus, a TOS violation.

Such insanity. I removed all my products and cancelled the account.

Boycott nonsense.

John85851 (profile) says:

Playing the devil's advocate...

… I looked at the crest and immediately recognized the Olympic logo. Could someone please explain how this is any different than displaying the Apple or McDonalds’ logo?

Okay, maybe these are different industries and the Olympics didn’t enforce the trademarks and so on and so on, but the “moron in a hurry” will recognize the Olympic logo. Then, by extension, people may ask why the school is displaying the logo on their crest? Is the school a training site? Did they host the games? Then why would the school use that specific combination of colored rings?

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