SECTIONS

Get your Olympic I.D. for early access to exclusive content, promotions, contests and email updates from your Canadian Olympic Team.

Link other accounts

Logout
FR

Canadian Olympic Team Official Website

Business Community

The COC frequently responds to requests from members of the business community who are looking for clarity on how to reference the Olympic Brand and how to engage in the Olympic Movement in accordance with the Public and Business Community Brand Use Guidelines.

How can a non-sponsoring business reference the Olympic Brand and Olympic Games?

The COC frequently responds to requests from members of the business community who are looking for clarity on how to reference the Olympic Brand and how to engage with the Olympic Movement in accordance with the COC’s Brand Use Guidelines.

The most effective way to engage in the excitement and opportunities created by the Olympic Brand in Canada is to become a COC marketing partner/sponsor. To learn more, businesses are encouraged to enquire via branduse@olympic.ca

How can a non-sponsoring business reference the Olympic Brand and Olympic Games?

In order for a non-sponsoring business to reference the Olympic Brand and Olympic Games in accordance with the Brand Use Guidelines, all references to the must be:

  • Factually correct
  • Editorially relevant (cultural relevance, geographic relevance, etc.)
  • Relevant to the non-Olympic purpose of the publication, creative, advertising, etc. (not overtly promotional)

And must not:

  • Be given undue prominence or special featuring
  • Involve the unauthorized use of Olympic visuals such as logos, archival Games imagery or team uniforms
  • Be commercially motivated
  • Create an unauthorized commercial association between the business in question and the Games or Olympic Movement.

The following examples provide direction on how these provisions can be applied.

The examples also outline the assessment tool that is relied upon to determine the likelihood of a marketing, communication and/or promotional tactic that might create an unauthorized commercial association, so that users have a direct insight into the criteria the COC will use in assessing use of the Olympic Brand.

Example: Store front and in-store advertising

A retailer, company XYZ creates a sales promotion with the tagline “Cheer on Canada” featuring significant discounts on products.  The promotion is launched and/or escalated during the period of the Olympic Games and supported by social media, advertising, direct mailers and an in-store display.

Case Assessment
Despite the use of a “cheering on Canada” theme during the Olympic Games-time Window. This retailer’s promotion would be viewed as unlikely to infringe. The references are relevant to a larger initiative and do not constitute gratuitous references to the Olympic Movement in an overtly promotional manner and the business is not attempting to create an unauthorized business association.

Example: Store front and in-store advertising

A retailer, company XYZ creates a sales promotion with the tagline “Cheer on Canada” featuring significant discounts on products.  The promotion is launched and/or escalated leading up to and during the Olympic Games-time Window and supported by social media, advertising, direct mailers and an in-store display.

Case Assessment
This example would be viewed as likely to infringe given that the promotion features significant prominence of the Olympic Movement and the unauthorized use of the Olympic Emblem. The gratuitous use of the Olympic Brand constitutes the business attempting to create an unauthorized business association.

Example: Olympic Games Viewings in Restaurants and Bars

A local pub promotes live viewing of the  Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by posting a sign on the door of its establishment. The sign reads “Come enjoy a drink while you watch the 2014 Olympic Games”.

Case Assessment
Despite the use of the Brand, because the use is accurate, relevant and not overly promotional it does not create an unauthorized association with the Olympic Movement. This would be considered as unlikely to infringe.

Example: Olympic Games Viewings in Restaurants and Bars

A local pub promotes live viewing of the  Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by creating a series of events titled “Nightly Olympic Viewing Parties sponsored by XYZ Brewery”. Each patron of the establishment will receive a collectable coaster featuring the Olympic Rings.

Case Assessment
Because the promotion prominently features the Brand and is sponsored by a commercial organization that is not a sponsor to the Olympic Movement, this promotion creates an unauthorized third-party commercial association which would be considered as likely to infringe.

Example: Business Websites

A dental office wants to illustrate its office location. The dental office website states: “The Offices of XYZ Dental Office are located in Richmond close to the Richmond Olympic Oval”.

Case Assessment
Despite the commercial nature of the website, because the reference to the Richmond Olympic Oval serves as a factual reference for directional purposes and does not give any undue prominence to the Olympic Brand or otherwise create an unauthorized commercial association with the Olympic Movement, this would be considered as unlikely to infringe.

How does a Business Promote an Olympic Sport or Athlete Sponsorship?

The COC recognizes the important investment many companies make towards Canadian athletes and National Sport Federations (NSF) and other COC Sport Partners. While these partnerships allow the rights for association with a Canadian Athlete or an NSF, they do not extend the right to associate with the Olympic Games in which the athlete has competed in, aims to compete in, or the Olympic Movement itself.

Businesses that have Canadian Athlete endorsement rights or NSF sponsorship rights can make factually accurate references to an athlete’s Olympic achievements and/or the relevant sport’s role in the Olympic Movement. However, such references should not be the primary focus of messaging that could in turn contribute to the creation of an unauthorized commercial association with the Olympic Movement.

Marketing of relationships with NSFs and Olympians during an Olympic Games window is particularly sensitive given the risk of creating an unauthorized commercial association with the Olympic Movement such activities can create.  Companies exploring such marketing and advertising tactics should consult with the respective NSF and/or athlete and their representative agent or contact branduse@olympic.ca for further information.

The following examples provide direction on referencing sport/athlete sponsorship during the non-Olympic Games window.

Example: Athlete Sponsorship

A company that sponsors an athlete wants to create a congratulatory advertisement to recognize the athlete’s achievements.

Case Assessment: Despite the promotional use of the phrase “Olympic Gold Medallist” in an advertisement by a company that is not a COC sponsor, this would be considered as unlikely to infringe because the athlete’s Olympic achievement is listed in the context of other accomplishments and the theme of the advertisement is non-Olympic in nature, the athlete’s Olympic Team uniform is not being worn and an Olympic Medal is not being displayed on its own.

Example: Athlete Sponsorship

A company that sponsors an athlete wants to create an advertisement to recognize the athlete’s achievements.

Case Assessment
In this case, the advertisement’s theme is purely Olympic-focused (through the use of Olympic Marks within the headline, use of an Olympic Games image, and the citation of the athlete’s Olympic Games achievements without reference to other achievements). As a result, this would be considered as likely to infringe.

Can Canadian businesses use the word “Olympic” in their business name?

The COC is sensitive to the fact that some businesses in Canada have used the word “Olympic” (or similar protected terms) in their names and marks for a significant period of time.

In dealing with businesses that are currently using the word “Olympic” (or similar protected terms) in their names and marks, the COC will generally not expect that businesses cease or modify use of the word “Olympic” (or similar protected terms) in their names or marks if they began using those marks prior to March 2, 2007 (as per the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act). This commitment is subject to reasonable conditions which are required in order to meet commitments to protect the Olympic Brand in Canada:

  • Apart from the use of the word “Olympic” (or similarly protected terms) in its name or marks, the business is not otherwise creating an association with the Olympic Brand
  • The use of the protected term by the business is in association with the same wares or services as used by the business before March 2, 2007
  • The business is not making a connection with the Olympic Games, using the Olympic Rings, the Olympic Torch or other symbols or expressions commonly associated with the Olympic Movement

Other factors that would be taken into consideration in this regard would be:

  • Whether the business in question is directly competing with one of the COC or IOC Olympic Games sponsors, licensees or partners
  • Geographic or cultural relevance as to why Olympic Marks might be used
  • The business is not making a connection with the Olympic Games, using the Olympic Rings, the Olympic Torch or other symbols or expressions commonly associated with the Olympic Movement

These Guidelines are designed to be applied on a case-by-case basis. The COC will assess each business individually and will carefully consider all unique circumstances. If you have questions regarding the use of the Olympic Brand in a business name, please contact branduse@olympic.ca.

The following examples provide direction on how these provisions can be applied. The examples also outline the assessment tool that is relied upon to determine the likelihood of an infringement.

Example: Use of “Olympic” in Business Name

A bakery has operated under the name “Olympic Bakery” since 1965. The company’s logo is simply a loaf of bread.

Case Assessment
Despite the use of the word Olympic  in the business name, because use of the name began prior to March 2, 2007 and there is no other use of the Olympic Brand, this would be considered as unlikely to infringe.

Example: Use of “Olympic” in Business Name

A bakery has recently adopted the business name “Olympic Bakery”. The company’s logo includes a torch.

Case Assessment
Because the company registered the business name after March 2, 2007 and uses a version of the Olympic Torch, the use in question creates an unauthorized third-party commercial association. This would be considered as likely to infringe.

How can my website link to the Canadian Olympic Team website?

As a general rule, a third party may link to the home page of the COC (www.olympic.ca) and any other domain names used by the COC, provided that:

  • The link is in plain text-only format and does not use the emblems of the COC, or any Olympic Games logo or any other mark, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the COC
  • The link is displayed in a proportionate manner, separated from, and not otherwise associated with, any sponsorship advertising, or other commercial text or graphics that may be on the page/area containing such word link

Contact branduse@olympic.ca for more information.

The following examples provide direction on properly linking to the COC’s website. The examples also outline the assessment tool that is relied upon to determine the likelihood of an infringement.

Example: Website Linking

ABC Fitness and Spa wants to include a link to the COC website.

Case Assessment
In this case, there are two major issues: a) unauthorized use of the Olympic Rings, and b) the proximity of these Olympic Marks to a third-party logo, creating an unauthorized commercial association with the COC. This would be considered as likely to infringe.

Example: Website Linking

ABC Fitness and Spa wants to include a link to the COC website.

Case Assessment
Despite the commercial nature of the website, the factually accurate use of the Brand in a list without special featuring does not appear in close proximity to third-party branding, therefore, this would be considered as unlikely to infringe.

Canadian Olympic ID

Partner ProgramsSee All

The Ultimate Weekender

The Ultimate Weekender

Do you have what it takes to be the Ultimate Weekender like Hilton HHonors sponsored Olympian Travis Gerrits? Take time…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 267 other followers

Get your free Olympic I.D.

Get your Olympic I.D. for early access to exclusive content, contests and email updates from your Canadian Olympic Team.