Vancouver Olympics 'Brand Protection Guidelines' Almost Entirely Arbitrary

from the where-do-we-include-the-drake-equation dept

Marcus Carab writes "VANOC (the Vancouver Olympics organization) has a 22-page booklet on their site covering trademark issues around the Olympics.

Most of it isn't new, but I found the description of their method (starts on page 12) to be very interesting. They describe a rubric with six categories that they use to determine if any given reference to the Olympics is potentially infringing. There are a few things about the method that stood out to me (beyond the broader fact that they are essentially attempting to rewrite trademark law as they see fit):
  • Each category is scored from 1 to 3, with a lower score being ideal. There is no option for zero in their ranking, and yet the final grading scale begins with "Unlikely to Infringe" rather than "Not Infringing"
  • They offer a bunch of examples and walk you through the math, then they ignore the outcome in some of them. Seriously. A bakery called "Olympic Bakery" that has existed since 1965 scores a 10 out of 18 on their system ("potential infringement"). Almost as if they realized how ridiculous that was while writing it, they decided to say it falls under "unlikely to infringe" even though it very clearly doesn't by their own math. A few pages later, a Winter Festival scores a "potential infringement", but they class it as "likely to infringe" with no explanation given.
Mostly this is just the same old Olympic shenanigans, but I found this booklet quite illustrative of just how ridiculous things can get."


It sounds kind of like the way they judge some of the events in the Olympics themselves.

Filed Under: arbitrary, brand protection, olympics, vancouver


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  1. icon
    william (profile), 27 Jan 2010 @ 12:54am

    The other day I was listening to the radio and they had a commerical for a local big Honda (or was that Toyota) dealership.

    This particular commercial caught my attention because it goes along the line of this...

    Announcer1: Come to our dealership to check out our newsest 2010 Toyota models.
    Announcer2: Hold on announcer1, are you sure that's safe to say. Perhaps we should better check.
    Announcer1: Well, our line up for 2010 will definately not disappoint you, book a test drive and you'll see
    Announcer2: well announcer1, we surely should have check that before we say it, but regardless, come to our dealship and look at our new Toyota models, this year's model will surely impress you.

    The above back-and-forth would make absolutely NO SENSE, if it weren't for the face that the stupid government granted VANOC special trademark protection for Vancouver2010, Vancouver olympics, 2010...etc, anything to do with 2010.

    I applaud the dealer for daring to put this kind of commercial on air. Let's hope they really did check with VANOC before they air it *end sarcasm*

    =====Olympic Rant================
    I live in GVRD and the Olympic is really pissing me off.

    I take transit and everyday I see more and more and more ad display case being set up on each of the stop. It's like they are cramming them in every space possible, even if it'll be esthetically displeasing. It's a balant commercialism that has nothing to do with sports or the original olympic spirits. The biggest irony is with all those "selling out" behaviour, the city, the province and Canada are probably going to lose millions of dollars still and we'll be paying for them for years to come. And who gets to walk away clean? The IOC and those corporate sponsors.

    being a Canadian, swearing is not really in my daily vocabulary but I couldn't help but call those ppl F*****G BAST***S.

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