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The Olympic brand on internet

Derek Iwasiuk
August 20, 2008


Presently everyone is watching the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. There is no doubt that such a huge event grabs the attention of hundreds of millions of people around the globe and there is no better time then now to snap up domain names related to Olympic ideas. But stay away from brand name and trademark abuse. reports on the case with Chicago has bid to host the world for the Olympic Games in 2016 but to their surprise the most preferable website address to host Olympic Games – - had already been registered by an individual by the name of Steve Frayne on August 8, 2004. Four days later, on the night before the Athens Olympic Games, someone related to Chicago’s bid secured the second-best domain

On July 24th, Chicago 2016 in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) filed a domain name claim with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) believing that they have more legal right to the domain name than the current registration holder. Having in mind that the USOC registered "Chicago 2016" as a trademark in October, 2006, it is most likely for them to win the domain name.

Similar international trademark was filed on February, 2007 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), after the intent of USOC to bid became clear. The IOC often registers domain names on behalf of potential bidders in advance with purpose to prevent possible problems.

Judging by IOC’s previous actions it is obvious that they have strong interest to control the Olympic brand on the internet. In 2000 they filed suit against over 1 800 holders of domains that were related with the word “Olympic” and its variations and still continue to do it. The city/year combination followed by .com or by the appropriate country code is traditionally used by the Olympic cities as their official Website address.

Having said that, it is expected Chicago 2016 to win their complaint when the case is heard over the next few weeks.


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