In the run up to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler, the Canadian Olympic authorities are clearly fearful of industrial scale piracy as they look to register as trade marks, wait for it, lyrics from their national anthem. Nick Johnson schusses in.
Topic: Ambush marketing
Who: The Vancouver Organising Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
When: March-September 2008
Law stated as at: 25 November 2008
The Vancouver Organising Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (“VANOC”) has applied to register as trade marks the expressions “WITH GLOWING HEARTS” and “DES PLUS BRILLIANTS EXPLOITS”. Both expressions derive from the Canadian national anthem (English and French versions respectively) and they are the official mottos for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Applications have been filed with the Canadian registry as well as in Europe for Community Trade Marks covering a wide variety of goods and services under trade mark classes 9, 35 and 41.
Why this matters:
VANOC already has strong rights to combat ambush marketing courtesy of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act. But like many other major event organisers around the world, it will clearly seek to rely on a range of both legal and practical measures to limit the extent to which non-sponsors can take advantage of references to the Games. Those measures already included the IOC’s registered trade marks for VANCOUVER 2010 (both as a word and as a device/word mark) and a device/word mark for “2010”.
Some may think it inappropriate that VANOC should seek a commercial monopoly over phrases taken from the Canadian national anthem. Might not other Canadian entities and businesses have a legitimate wish to use these expressions themselves?
Similar arguments were raised this side of the Atlantic when the British Olympic Association applied to register “TEAM GB” as a trade mark back in 2006 and the mark has still not proceeded to publication, let alone registration. Then again, others raised concerns about the IOC’s application to register “2012” as a word trade mark, and that proceeded in 2006 to full registration as a community trade mark in relation to goods and services in all 45 trade mark classes…
Osborne Clarke, London