US Olympic Committee Sues Organization Trying To Build Sports Museum

from the the-spirit-of-competition dept

The Olympics are notoriously protective of the Olympic name, even trying to block the trademark application for the Olympian, a newspaper in Olympia, Washington. Paul writes in to let us know that the US Olympic Committee has now decided it's worth suing what appears to be an almost defunct non-profit organization called The International Institute for Sport and Olympic History. Apparently the organization was set up to try to raise funds for a museum dedicated to sports, but from the article, it sounds like it has failed to get very far, and has been (perhaps) left to die already (at one point, it was reported that the Institute's bank account contained $52). But never one to let a dead organization die peacefully, the USOC has sued and is seeking "treble damages." What damages? This is basically a defunct organization that never did anything. The USOC says, at the very least, it deserves three times the profits the organization made off the Olympic name. Well, three times zero is zero... so seems like this one could be settled pretty quickly.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Alex, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:48pm

    i really have to say, the amount of absolutely ridiculous lawsuits is probably caused by corporate lawyers who come running to their client screaming 'OH SWEET JEEBUS, SOMEONE IS MAKING MONEY OFF YOUR $^@&! PAY US $700 AN HOUR AND IT'LL GO AWAY!'

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

  2. icon
    Mike C. (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:54pm

    Losing their appeal quickly...

    Between overly aggressive trademark enforcement, rampant commercialization and lopsided competitions, I'm starting to realize why I haven't been interested in the Olympics for the last 10-15 years.

    I think I'll just go read a book or two instead this time around. Heck, I'll probably get more value out of it anyway... :-)

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    what if they runn a loss will the olympic commitee pay the negative profit 3 times?

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

  4. icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:43pm

    NBC already knows they will lose money televising the Olympics. I hope this is the point where the Olympics starts to bring less and less money in from networks and they get what they deserve. Very few organizations behave so obviously in contradiction to their stated ideals. Keep blogging every instance of Olympian storm-trooper tactics, Mike!

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

  5. icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 10:32pm

    Treble? Really? That is generous.

    The part that strikes me is "at the very least, it deserves three times the profits the organization made off the Olympic name."

    So, if the organization lost $50,000, that would be -50000. So by my calculations using the committee's own suggestion, the organization deserves to be paid $150,000 by the Olympic committee. That should move the museum along nicely.

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

  6. icon
    transmaster (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 11:36pm

    Your elected officials at work

    You can thank our elected officials in Washington DC for this mess. They passed a law giving the United States Olympic Committee exclusive right to the "Olympic" name. Never mind if you where a business,or anything else that might have been might have been using the word Olympic from shortly after the original Greek games ended you would suddenly get a nasty scumbag-a-lawyer gram telling you to stop using the word Olympic. They even tried to sue people using the name Olympia. only to find out Olympia Beer's lawyers where even better back stabbers then those of the Olympic committee.

    A similar thing happened in the state of Kentucky. Always looking for more tax revenue to power their local pork projects the Kentucky state legislator passed a law putting a tax on any business who used the word Kentucky in their name. Ever wonder why Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC, or the Kentucky Derby is no longer known by that name it is because of this tax.

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

  7. identicon
    Vincent Clement, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:38am

    Re: Your elected officials at work

    I guess anyone can make up things on the internet. would seem to indicate that Churchill Downs continues to call the Kentucky Derby the Kentucky Derby.

    As to KFC, they changed their name to remove the stigma attached to the word "Fried".

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

  8. icon
    sysadmn (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:57am

    May be clever, not stupid

    USOC might be more clever than stupid. If they sue an organization that can't afford to defend itself, they get a slam-dunk win. No, they won't be able to collect anything, but they've established a legal precedent. That precedent could not only expand their "protection" of the Olympic marks, but also their "right" to treble damages. The next organization they rattle sabers at has an uphill battle.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 5:14am

    There is something about American lawyers, isn't there? Is it true that most of them do internships in the health insurance industry before thay are allowed to practise?

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

  10. identicon
    Dave, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:28am

    Double whammy

    Wow, both the usual stupid bullying lawsuit we're used to seeing, and the world-class legendary corruption of the USOC. That's an impressive combo!

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

  11. icon
    Thomas (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 7:57am

    more likely..

    the lawyers do internships with the Mafia.

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

  12. identicon
    ajlec2000, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    Is this true?

    I'm finding it hard to believe. Is the IOC really willing to act in such an absurd manner in public?

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

  13. icon
    Sirpa Aggarwal (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    Very distasteful and bizarre action by USOC. Considering the non-profit's financial status - and I'm assuming USOC's legal team did their due diligence before suing the company - this lawsuit couldn't have possibly ever been for any financial gain. I therefore interpret it as a pre-emptive strike and a warning against any and all companies out there entertaining any thoughts of using the word "olympic" as part of their business.

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

  14. icon
    Chargone (profile), Jan 30th, 2010 @ 3:08pm


    they really should.

    'course, ideally, no one mentions that the profit is a negative number until After the Olympic committee wins.

    Then they fudge the numbers to make the loss even bigger :D

    arguably the court costs would be an expense tied to the name, right? :D

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

  15. identicon
    Tom corday, Feb 14th, 2010 @ 10:43pm

    Ski team unifor

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

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