Vancouver 2010

Vancouver 2010

March 02, 2007 14:36 ET

Olympic and Paralympic Brand Protection Legislation Tabled by Government of Canada

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 2, 2007) - The Government of Canada demonstrated its commitment to a financially successful 2010 Winter Games with lasting legacies for Canadian athletes today with the tabling of a bill in the House of Commons by the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry.

This proposed legislation, known as The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, would provide special time-limited intellectual property protection for Olympic and Paralympic words and symbols associated with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and provide protection against any unauthorized business association with the Games, often known as 'ambush marketing'.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has an obligation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), its sponsors and government partners to protect the Olympic and Paralympic Brands in Canada. As part of this commitment, VANOC has been engaged in extensive dialogue with Industry Canada on the need for this legislation to ensure adequate protection of the Olympic and Paralympic Brands.

With the introduction of this bill, Canada is following the best practices of other host countries to enact special legislation for Olympic and Paralympic marks including Australia (Sydney 2000 Summer Games), Greece (Athens 2004 Summer Games), Italy (Torino 2006 Winter Games) and China (Beijing 2008 Summer Games). Canadian Parliament adopted legislation for the Montreal 1976 Summer Games. The most similar legislation to the The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act was enacted in Australia for the Sydney 2000 Summer Games and is already in place for the London 2012 Summer Games.

"We commend Minister Bernier on the proposed legislation that will strengthen the legacy for our athletes by giving our sponsors greater assurance that their exclusive rights will be protected," said Dave Cobb, VANOC executive vice president, Revenue, Marketing and Communications. "The 2010 Winter Games will be one of the biggest events in our nation's history and to stage successful Games we need the continued support of Canadian sponsors. The positive financial and infrastructure legacies of the 2010 Games for our athletes and all Canadians will be felt for generations."

VANOC is committed to applying the proposed legislation in a disciplined, sensitive, fair and transparent manner. In this regard, VANOC intends to provide enhanced guidance to the public on the proper use of Olympic and Paralympic marks ( For example, VANOC is developing detailed guidelines that will be available to the public shortly. The proposed legislation will not be retroactive, and will therefore not apply to prior brand infringement cases.

"A sponsorship program that properly protects sponsor exclusivity will continue to attract top-level sponsors who are confident their investment will be protected," said Cobb. "Many of these sponsors are also providing significant funds now to help our Canadian athletes go for gold in 2010. And post-Games, if our success includes a financial surplus, funds will go back into the Canadian sports system to directly benefit athletes," he concluded.

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.

A backgrounder is attached.

VANOC Backgrounder

March 2, 2007

Olympic and Paralympic Brand Protection will be part of a successful Games

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) is working to ensure the value of the Olympic and Paralympic Brand is maintained as part of its efforts to stage well-organized and financially successful Games.

Canadian organizations and governments are being asked to make significant financial investments to become official sponsors of the 2010 Winter Games, and, in the case of our corporate sponsors, acquire exclusive right to use the Olympic and Paralympic Brands in their promotional campaigns. These investments will be used to help stage the 2010 Winter Games, support Canadian athletes and provide legacies for the benefit of all Canadians.

What constitutes the Olympic Brand?

The Olympic Brand includes all the names, phrases, marks, logos and designs related to the 2010 Winter Games and the Olympic Movement. For the purpose of this Backgrounder, the 'Olympic Brand' also includes the associated Paralympic Games marks. The use of the Olympic Brand is carefully controlled and may only be used in Canada in the lead up to and during the 2010 Winter Games with the written permission of VANOC.

Why is protecting the Olympic Brand important?

- Appropriate protection of the Olympic Brand will give sponsors assurance their exclusive rights are secure, which will assist VANOC in raising sufficient sponsorship revenue to fund the expected $1.7 billion operational budget for the 2010 Winter Games.

- If sponsors are assured their investments will be protected and VANOC is therefore able to meet or exceed its financial target, Vancouver and Canada will be able to host spectacular Games, with long-term legacies for sport and future Olympians and Paralympians in Canada.

- Canada has committed to 'owning the podium' in 2010 by finishing first in the world in terms of the total number of medals won by our Canadian athletes. Through their agreements with VANOC, sponsors have agreed to contribute to the Own the Podium - 2010 program to further this goal. Protecting sponsor rights will encourage continued support of Canadian athletes by corporate sponsors, and the success of our athletes in 2008, 2010 and beyond.

What happens if the Olympic Brand is compromised?

Under various agreements relating to Vancouver's hosting of the 2010 Winter Games, VANOC is obligated to protect the Olympic Brand against unauthorized use in Canada, including an obligation to protect against ambush marketing, which is the name given to third party activities aimed at profiting from the value and goodwill associated with the Olympic Brand and the Olympic Movement in an unauthorized manner.

When the brand is compromised, so is the ability to raise the necessary funds to stage successful Games and to support Canadian athletes.

Occasional exceptions are permitted under limited conditions

VANOC is sensitive to the fact that some businesses in Canada use the word "Olympic" (or similar terms) in their names and marks and have done so long before January 1998 (when it became widely known the Canadian Olympic Committee had awarded, to Vancouver, the right to make a bid to the International Olympic Committee for the 2010 Winter Games).

In dealing with businesses currently using the word "Olympic" (or similar terms) in their names and marks, VANOC will not require that businesses cease or modify their use of the word "Olympic" (or similar terms) in their names or marks if they began using those marks prior to January 1, 1998. This commitment is subject to some reasonable conditions which are required if VANOC is to meet its commitments to the IOC to protect the Olympic Brand in Canada, most notably:

(i) apart from the use of the word "Olympic" or a similar protected term in its name or marks, the business is not otherwise creating an association with the Olympic Brand;

(ii) the use of the protected term by the business is in association with the same wares or services in respect of which it was used (by the business) before January 1, 1998;

(iii) the business is not directly competing with one of the VANOC or IOC Olympic Games sponsors; or

(iv) the business is not also using the Olympic Rings, the Olympic Torch or other symbols or expressions commonly associated with the Olympic Movement.

This commitment to 'grandfather' pre-existing use of "Olympic" and similar terms is consistent with the policy VANOC has followed to date and which is set out on the VANOC website.

In circumstances that do not meet the above noted grandfathering exception, VANOC carefully considers all of the circumstances and assesses each situation on a case-by-case basis, applying a measured process of assessment. This process of assessment will be further detailed in guidelines being developed, which will be available to the public shortly.

Contact Information

  • Vancouver 2010
    Chris Brumwell
    (778) 328-6269
    Vancouver 2010
    Mary Fraser
    (778) 328-3667