28 March 2010

Cleverly skirting trademark restrictions

In late 2009, lululemon released a line of clothing named the "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition", an apparent reference to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The name does not infringe Canada's Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act in that it does not use the terms "Olympic(s)", "Vancouver", "2010", or any other term protected under that law. Representatives from the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee, while acknowledging that no explicit infringement had taken place, nevertheless expressed disappointment at lululemon's tactic.


  1. Sadly, I learned last week that the uber-powerful IOC also ordered Olympic Wines (from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington) to change the name of their wines since IOC owns copyright over all-things Olympic. Maybe the next move is to go after the National Park Service to change the name of Olympic National Park (or collect royalties)...

  2. Common tactic. Disney does the same thing.

    Legally they have to chase down and send a letter to every single-celled organism and up that might be infringing. They don't always follow through.

    The reason being that if there is a serious infraction, the defendant can site previous cases where the corporation or entity did NOT pursue cases and therefore legally was not trying to protect its copyright. If you don't try to protect it, then there is not much use in having a copyright (for legal purposes).

    I am sure I may have messed up the terminology somewhere, but I think the point still gets across. :)


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