June 18, 2018

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Mum's the Word on Olympics Content to Avoid Infringement

It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and enthusiasm of the Olympics, but companies and employees should be aware of the rules that govern the use of all social media posts related to the games. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have warned businesses not to create social media posts that are Olympic themed, feature Olympic trademarks, include games imagery or even congratulate Olympic performance unless the business is an official sponsor.

Just like any trademark owner, the USOC is serious about protecting the quality and integrity of its brand(s). In an effort to increase the value of their sponsorship, the USOC will challenge commercial entities that use the Olympic trademarks without receiving official permission. Not surprising, violators will be asked to remove the content from the social media site or face legal action against the business. Unless a company’s primary business is disseminating news and information, social media platforms are considered commercial in nature serving to promote the company (e.g. increase sales).

Note that these restrictions do not apply to personal social media accounts (non-business related). Additional guidelines about Olympic brand usage can be found online.

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About this Author

Matthew Gearin, Pateint Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale Law Firm
Associate

Matthew Gearin is an associate in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. His main focus is the preparation and prosecution of patents related to science technology. 

As an attorney and patent engineer, Matthew works through all stages of patent prosecution including patentability searches, patent applications and answering office actions from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Matthew also reviews patent term adjustments, assists with responses to requests for corrected publications, generates information disclosure documents, and prepares sequence listings....

314.342.8044
Jennifer E. Hoekel, Intellectual Property Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale law firm
Partner

A member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation practice group and a registered U.S. patent attorney, Jennifer Hoekel focuses on patent litigation.

Finding her general litigation background to be an asset in this practice area, she has litigated patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair competition and license acquisition matters, in state, federal and appellate courts throughout the U.S. Her cases involve mechanical, electrical, chemical and business method patents in such varied subject matter as cholesterol inhibiting substances, highway roadside safety equipment, ion mobility spectrometry, fat compositions, automotive parts and electronic voting equipment.

314-342-4162
Donna Schmitt, Intellectual Property Attorney, Armstrong Teasdale Law Firm
Partner

As a member of the Intellectual Property practice group, Donna Schmitt strategically manages global trademark portfolios.

Businesses in a variety of industries look to Donna to handle domestic and foreign trademark prosecution and for guidance on trademark selection, use, registration, policing, protection, infringement and enforcement. She also advises on trade dress and copyright matters as well as brand expansion through trademark licensing. Donna counsels on domain name registration and use of trademarks and copyrights in social media.

As part of her practice, Donna works...

314.552.6681