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.

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  1. icon
    The Anti-Mike (profile), 26 Jan 2010 @ 7:44pm

    Re:

    You have to be careful with the Welles decision, as it is very narrow to a very specific type of fact: An award given or a title held.

    The Olympics is an event, and they are (obviously) very trademark happy. To have a commercial that involves the olympics from a company that isn't paying to be the "official long breaded sandwich company of the 2010 winter games" could imply some sort of relationship that doesn't exist. It would also diminish the value of the rights that other companies paid for.

    Actually, Mr Phelps won't be competing in Vancouver (unless they have some sort of frozen swimming pool even I wasn't aware of).

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