This iconic Olympic symbol enjoys special protection under
the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol.
States that have signed up to the Treaty are obliged to refuse
or invalidate the registration as a mark and to prohibit the
use for commercial purposes of any sign consisting of or
containing the Olympic symbol, except with theIOC ’s authorization
In the run-up to the London Olympic Games which will get under way on July 27, 2012, this third article in the WIPO Magazine IP and Sport series explores how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) protects the visual symbols of the Olympic Games, the so-called Olympic properties, that are so familiar.
Olympism is a philosophy of life that places sport at the service of humankind. The Olympic Movement encompasses concerted, organized, universal and permanent action, carried out by many individuals and entities who are inspired by the values of Olympism under the overall umbrella of the IOC. It brings together athletes from across the globe for one of the world’s most well-known and celebrated sporting, cultural and entertainment events - the Olympic Games.
The Olympic properties, in particular the Olympic symbol, are the visual ambassadors of Olympism. The Olympic symbol, seen by millions of people throughout the Olympic Games, is one of the world’s most recognized brands. The five interlocking rings represent the coming together of five continents and symbolize the Olympic values: striving for excellence, demonstrating respect and celebrating friendship. The Olympic properties have become iconic – they are more than just “logos”. People around the world associate them with the fundamental values of sport and of the Olympic Movement.
Because of their honored place on the world stage, it is essential that the IOC protect its Olympic properties at the international level. The IOC benefits from special legal means to do this, but it also relies on ordinary means of trademark protection.
Read more HERE