by Tim Cushing

Filed Under:
2014, olympics, trademark

The International Olympic Committee Has Already Staked A Trademark Claim On The Number '2014'

from the 2015-still-entertaining-offers... dept

Man, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sure loves its trademarks. Many, many, many, many, many, many, many cases of the IOC's fierce brand protection have been detailed here, including taping over non-sponsor logos and seeking the power to enter homes to remove "unapproved signage." This has also rubbed off on a few Olympians, triggering trademark office filings to protect made-up words stolen from middling hip hop artists and self-given nicknames.

Via the IPKat we learn that the IOC has already locked down next year in preparation for the Winter Olympics. No, seriously. A trademark on the number "2014," which non-coincidentally happens to be a (lesser) Olympic year, has been granted by the UK's Intellectual Property Office.
The IPKat's attention has been drawn to Community Trade Mark E3307444. The mark in question consists of the number "2014", which no-one would ever imagine to be the appellation by which next year might just be known. Applied for in 2003 and registered in 2005, this mark is owned by none other than the Comité International Olympique of Château de Vidy, Lausanne.
So, with the kind of efficiency you only find in the most brutal of trademark bullies, the IOC has trademarked a number many people were planning to use starting next January, nine years in advance. And the IOC isn't leaving anything to chance. It has staked a claim on all 45 of the possible registration classes, including (but good god, certainly not limited to) chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals/alloys, machines, tools, scientific equipment, surgical instruments, lighting, heating, vehicles, firearms, musical instruments, furniture, ropes, tarps, string, textiles, toys, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, beer, other alcoholic beverages, tobacco, insurance, conferences and seminars, design and development of computer programs, restaurant services, asbestos and security.

Anything and everything possibly covered by a registered trademark has been nailed down by the Committee, making it very possible that anyone using the number "2014" in the year 2014 might find themselves dealing with the IOC's trademark cops. IPKat suggests a workaround:
The IPKat doesn't feel he can safely use 2014 in the course of trade, so he has decided to call it "2013+1". Merpel isn't sure that this will work. The first three digits of 2014 also begin "2013" and, as is well known in decisions of the General Court and the Boards of Appeal of OHIM, consumers are likely to pay more attention to the beginning of a mark than to its end unless there's a good reason why they won't …
Does this mean that the IOC now has the power to go after anyone in an industry simply for using "2014?" Probably not, but the IOC certainly hasn't shown any willingness to curtail its overreach either. So it will probably be a mixture of the standard IOC branding aggressiveness coupled with a few instances of IOC branding WTF-ness, much of which we'll probably see covered here.

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  1. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, 28 Jan 2013 @ 8:36am

    Re: Just wow.

    omg just suck it up, their rich and powerful they can trademark whatever they want if they want to trademark mike's ass tomorrow you need to just go along with it, learn your place peasant

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