Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 02, 2007 13:12 ET

Canada's New Government Moves to Protect the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Brand

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 2, 2007) - The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, announced today the introduction in Parliament of a bill that will provide special, time-limited intellectual property protection for Olympic and Paralympic words and symbols in the lead up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act will strengthen the exclusive rights of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) over these words and symbols and improve its ability to negotiate sponsorship agreements with businesses interested in associating themselves with the 2010 Winter Games.

"Canada's New Government is a proud partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games," said Minister Bernier. "By introducing this bill today, we are demonstrating our continued commitment to VANOC and its efforts to secure private sector sponsorships, an important source of funding for the Games."

"Hosting the 2010 Winter Games will provide Canadian businesses, from coast to coast, with significant economic benefits. The sustained growth in numbers of foreign visitors, construction of Games-related sport and event venues, and the potential for increased sales at home and abroad are only a few examples of the positive impacts the Games will have on Canada's economy and our international reputation," said the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics. "This legislation provides appropriate protection for 2010 Winter Games sponsors in recognition of their important contribution toward the success of the Games in Vancouver and Whistler and will ensure respectful and responsible business practices."

In July 2003, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Vancouver to be the host city for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. A significant part of the funding for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games comes from sponsorship agreements between VANOC and the private sector.

The bill will enable VANOC to maximize sponsorship opportunities by strengthening existing trade-mark protection over Olympic and Paralympic marks and by preventing non-sponsors from advertising in a manner that falsely suggests a business connection with the Games (known as "ambush marketing").

The security and stability brought about by these changes will reassure existing and potential sponsors without impacting on legitimate business practices, such as the use of a protected word in a business address or to explain the nature of a good or service. The bill also contains a "sunset" clause which will result in the automatic termination of some of its protections once the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games end and the need for sponsorship funding is no longer as pressing. VANOC has committed to use its intellectual property rights in a disciplined, sensitive, fair and transparent manner, and will be issuing public guidelines to that effect in the coming weeks.

By introducing this bill, Canada is aligning itself with best practices in other host countries that have enacted special legislation for Olympic and Paralympic marks. These include the Sydney 2000 Summer Games, the Athens 2004 Summer Games, the Torino 2006 Winter Games and the Beijing 2008 Summer Games. The bill is also consistent with similarly intentioned legislation passed by Parliament in respect of the Montreal 1976 Summer Games.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
    Minister of Industry
    Isabelle Fontaine
    (613) 995-9001
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 943-2502