Beijing Strictly Enforcing Olympics IPR, Goodwill Gestures Seen as Violating Rules

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May 29 – Companies looking to instill the Olympic spirit in their staff ahead of and during the forthcoming Games in Beijing may want to think twice on how they carry out the campaign. The French supermarket chain Carrefour has had to remove hats embossed with the Olympic rings from employees at its Chinese branches after the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) deemed them to be a copyright violation.

According to the Beijing Times, BOCOG demanded Carrefour stop using the caps after the committee concluded that the insignia was being illegally used.

“BOCOG said the Olympic symbol-embossed caps had a commercial agenda, and were in violation,” the paper quoted an unnamed employee at a Beijing branch, as saying on Tuesday.

BOCOG has been strictly enforcing copyrights on Games symbols and logos, and companies seeking to gain commercially by falsely linking themselves to the Games are being increasingly reined in by the authorities.

Carrefour, and many other companies looking to get into the Olympic spirit are finding that in doing so, they are in violation of Article 5, Clause 6 of the Regulations on the Protection of Olympic Symbols, which prohibits the use of the Olympic insignia for profit-making and “other acts that might mislead people to think there are sponsorship or other supporting relations between the doers and the right holders of Olympic symbols.”

Dezan Shira & Associates had to scrap plans to distribute Olympic-themed polo shirts to all staff in order to remain in compliance with the committee’s ruling on the matter.