Olympia Restaurant is embroiled in a trademark battle with the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Olympia Restaurant’s sign and logo use flames, rings and a torch, elements that also appearch in trademarks of the Olympics.

The Canadian Olympic Committee has trademarks going back several years — 1985, 1995, and so on. For 20 years, the Olympic Committee has had a trademark on the Olympic torch. When I did a search before (having now forgotten the parameters), I was able to dig up trademark materials from the early 1970s.

I am not a lawyer. But it seems to me that Olympia Restaurant is in the wrong. The petition from Olympia Restaurant suggests that VANOC wants the eatery to discontinue use of the flames, rings and torch because:

the public will be led to believe that the Olympia’s services have been endorsed by the COC or are somehow connected to the 2010 winter games.

As a trademark owner, VANOC must protect the assets of the Olympic Games Association. I discussed the reasons for protecting your trademarks in a previous post. VANOC has no choice but to enforce its intellectual property rights.

Again, I’m not a lawyer. But I think Olympia Restaurant’s owners know they’re wrong. For them, the trademark dispute may pose an opportunity to gain media exposure. Just look at all the Olympia Restaurant press. Forget the cost of winning a legal battle – no small restaurant could afford to buy that media coverage. The media (and the public) loves stories about underdogs. Expect to hear more about Olympia Restaurant’s logo battles as we approach 2010.

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(c) 2006 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.