The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is a private, not-for-profit organization and as a National Olympic Committee (NOC), has a legal duty to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its sponsors to monitor and protect the Olympic Brand in Canada.

In order to fulfill this duty, the COC has developed a balanced approach to Olympic Brand use that relies on education, assessment, and enforcement to respond appropriately to all commercial and non-commercial infringements or misuses of the Olympic Brand in Canada.

The following information is intended to provide the general public, community institutions, business community, media and COC sport partners with an opportunity to become informed about the COC’s perspective and approach. Examples are provided which assist in describing how to actively promote the Olympic Movement within Canada without devaluing the investments made by COC marketing partners/sponsors.

A long-form PDF version of the Public and Business Community Brand Use Guidelines is also available for download.

Athlete Marketing/Rule 40 – Tokyo 2020

Rule 40 Background

Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter is an eligibility rule of the IOC introduced for the purpose of maintaining the unique global nature of the Olympic Games. The rule helps ensure global participation at the Games, the funding of the Games and the long-term health of the Olympic Movement by maintaining the appeal of Olympic sponsorship at both the global and national level.

Byelaw 40.3 states: “Competitors, team officials and other team personnel who participate in the Olympic Games may allow their person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games in accordance with the principles determined by the IOC Executive Board.”

The IOC released guidance on July 4, 2019 which includes the “key principles” determined by the IOC Executive Board for implementation of byelaw 40.3 for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The COC is responsible for the implementation of these key principles in Canada.

Who Does it Apply to?

Rule 40 applies to all athletes, coaches, trainers and officials who will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games. It does not apply to alumni.

When is it?

The Rule 40 period for Tokyo runs from July 14, 2020 – August 11, 2020.

COC Rule 40 Guidance for Tokyo 2020

The COC has released updated Rule 40 guidance for the Tokyo 2020 Games available for download here (English) and here (French).

These guidelines outline how COC will implement Rule 40 in Canada during the Tokyo 2020 Games, including how athletes may continue to promote their personal sponsors (i.e. brands and companies who are not Olympic partners), and how these sponsors may continue to feature athletes in advertising during the Rule 40 period.

Questions? Please contact us at branduse@olympic.ca.

The Olympic Brand in Canada – what is it?

The ‘Olympic Brand’ is comprised of the names, phrases, marks, logos and designs relating to the Olympic Movement. This includes, but is not limited to, those relating to specific Olympic Games, the Canadian Olympic Team, Olympic moments and the accomplishments of Olympians. Use of the Olympic Brand in Canada is subject to COC authorization.

Why protect the Olympic Brand?

The COC relies heavily on the sale of exclusive marking rights to generate revenue, which is used to fund the Canadian Olympic Team’s preparation and participation at Olympic and PanAmerican Games. Thus, the awarding, management and protection of exclusive marketing rights surrounding the Olympic Brand in Canada is necessary to sustain Canada’s participation in the global Olympic Movement.

Only official sponsors, licensees and partners of the COC are permitted to suggest an affiliation or connection with the Olympic Movement in Canada. When companies create false or misleading commercial associations with the Olympic Brand without making the financial investment required to secure official marketing rights, they are threatening the COC’s sponsorship and licensing programs and impair the COC’s ability to attract future sponsors and licensees. Protecting sponsor rights will encourage continued support of Canadian athletes and foster the success of our current and future Olympians.

How does the COC protect the Olympic Brand?

The COC is committed to enforcing its rights in a disciplined, sensitive, fair and transparent manner.

Examples provided in each stakeholder group below use the COC 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. These examples provide users with a direct insight into the criteria considered when assessing use of the Olympic Brand.

Please see the long form Public and Business Community Brand Use Guidelines for a detailed overview of the assessment process.

How can I get more information?

The COC recognizes that a variety of groups and a significant number of the Canadian public are keen on engaging with or referencing the Olympic Brand in Canada. For the sake of user convenience, the following sections are organized by interest group and provide specific information and examples relating to Olympic Brand use in Canada. The categories below will have visually stimulating examples and leading questions for ease of viewing , please click on the interest group that best represents your needs and intentions.

Who are the Official Canadian Olympic Sponsors?

Please visit our Marketing Partner page to learn more about our partners who make the Olympic Movement in Canada possible.

How do I report misuses of the Olympic Brand?

The general public, community institutions and business community can greatly assist our efforts to protect the Olympic Brand. If you encounter infringing marketing tactics, counterfeit merchandise or other misuses of the Olympic Brand, we encourage you to fill out the form below and e-mail the completed copy to us at branduse@olympic.ca.

Disclaimer
These Guidelines are not legal advice and any information contained herein does not in any way limit the COC’s legal rights and remedies. If you think you may have infringed the COC’s rights, or you are proposing to do something which you think may infringe the COC’s rights, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice.