Only official sponsors, licensees and government partners of the Olympic Movement in Canada are allowed to suggest an affiliation or connection with the Olympic Movement or any Olympic Games. Unfortunately, those exclusive rights can be infringed by “ambush marketing” – marketing that capitalizes on the goodwill of the Olympic Movement by creating a false, unauthorized association.
Ambush marketing can be intentional – a tactic used by unscrupulous businesses to exploit the goodwill of the Olympic Brand – or inadvertent. Either way, ambush marketing is unfair because it allows the ambush marketer to benefit from an association with the Olympic Brand without providing any financial support for Canadian Olympic athletes.
Non-Olympic Rights Holder
Any organization that does not have an official relationship with the Olympic Movement has no right to associate with the Olympic Brand. Non-Olympic Rights Holders cannot create or imply an association to the Olympic Games, Movements or Canadian Olympic Team.
The “Olympic Brand” is comprised of all of the names, phrases, marks, logos and designs relating to the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Games and Canadian Olympic Committee including Olympic Games photography, logos, mascots, medals, wordmarks and official uniforms. The Olympic Brand includes official marks or trademarks owned or licensed by the COC and IOC. Use of the Olympic Brand in Canada is carefully controlled and must be authorized by the Canadian Olympic Committee. See Olympic Marks for more information,
Canadian Olympic Committee Marks (consisting of wordmarks and logos) are protected by Section 9 Official Marks status under the Trademarks Act and have also been offered special protection under the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act. For a detailed account of Canadian Olympic Committee (nee Canadian Olympic Association) Marks, please visit the Canadian Trade-marks Database. The following provides an example of protected Olympic Marks in Canada.
Canadian Olympic Team
The Best of Us
Faster, Higher, Stronger
The official period of the Olympic Games as identified by the IOC and/or the host Organizing Committee and the Canadian Olympic Athlete Agreement. For point of reference, this is defined as starting 15 days before the Opening Ceremony and/or the day the COC names the full national team – whichever is earlier – through to eight days after the Closing Ceremony, the closing of the Athletes’ Villages at the relevant Games site and/or the final official Canadian team homecoming event – whichever is later. The confirmed dates of each relevant Olympic window will be set by the COC as part of the Athlete Agreement published for that relevant Games. Should the dates defined in such Athlete Agreement not match those defined above, the Athlete Agreement shall take precedence.
Olympic Rights Holder
An Olympic Rights Holder is any commercial organization that has an official sponsorship or licensing relationship the COC, and/or the IOC. The organization’s rights (as it relates to the Olympic Brand) must be defined in a contract between the two parties. An Olympic Rights Holder is commonly referred to as a “Sponsor” or “Marketing Partner”, “Supplier” or “Supporter” of the COC or IOC.
Olympic Brand Management – Disclaimer
These Guidelines are intended to provide guidance only and are made available without prejudice to any rights or remedies which the COC may have in any particular case.
The information provided in these Guidelines does not constitute legal or professional advice. The COC has sought to provide reasonable guidance as to how it evaluates potential marketing, communications and/or promotional tactics that might create an unauthorized commercial association
Anyone using these Guidelines must accept that the COC will react to potential misuses of the Olympic Brand on a case-by-case basis and that it is impossible to predict or describe every type of potentially infringing activity. Consequently, the information provided in this document is given without liability or restriction on the part of the COC. These Guidelines do not constitute any form of authorization, permission, consent, license, waiver or estoppel (express or implied) that in any way limits or prejudices the statutory or common law rights of the COC in any circumstances.
These Guidelines are for illustrative purposes only and reliance on them is at the reader’s own risk. If you are in any doubt as to whether your activities may infringe the rights of the COC, then you should seek your own legal advice.