July 12, 2016 | All About Advertising Law

Lowering the Bar on Likelihood of Confusion — Another Reason for Brands To Beware of Using Olympic Trademarks

1 min

This post is an excerpt of the original article published in Venable's All About Advertising Law blog on July 12, 2016.

With the opening ceremony for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games less than 1 month away, Olympic sponsors and non-sponsors alike are thinking about how they may be able to capitalize on the event's popularity. Brands must, however, beware of using Olympic trademarks (as discussed in our previous blog post, Going for the Gold this Summer: Brands Beware!), in large part, because of the relative ease with which Olympic rights-holders, such as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), can take legal action. In the United States, under the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act (Ted Stevens Act), the USOC has exclusive rights to use "Olympic," "Olympiad," the interlocking rings, event mottos and other Olympic trademarks. The Ted Stevens Act also prohibits use of any word, symbol, or combination thereof that "tends to cause confusion or mistake, to deceive, or to falsely suggest a connection with the user and the Olympics." In practice, this is a very broad prohibition.

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