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?