London businesses have attempted to cash in on the staging of the 2012 Olympic Games by using trademarks associated with the event, it has been reported.
According to Reuters, a number of businesses in the east of the city – where the Olympic stadia have been built – have adopted the word ‘Olympic’ as part of their name.
The news provider suggested that the word has appeared on various shop-fronts, including those belonging to takeaways, hairdressers, garages and cafes.
By adding ‘Olympic’ to their name, such companies have breached strict copyright laws imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The word ‘Olympic’, and the five rings logo, are two of the most recognisable trademarks in the world. And as such, they are also two of the most heavily protected.
Currently, it is the role of the London organising committee (Locog) to enforce trademark law, and part of their role has been to warn local businesses about their use of the term ‘Olympic’.
According to Locog, it is vital to protect sponsors’ interests, given the huge investment the private sector has made in staging the Games – around $1 billion between 11 international firms.
Without this finance, UK taxpayers would face a much greater burden, the committee explained.
As such, London companies have been urged to drop their use of the Olympic trademarks or face court action and potentially hefty fines.
Professor Simon Chadwick of Coventry University Business School told Reuters that London firms need to be careful when targeting customers before and during the Olympics.
“My advice to businesses is rather than becoming frustrated that they can’t use the word Olympic, they just think about other ways in which they can reach out to tourists, visiting officials, to members of the media, commercial partners who will be in town,” he stated.
“They’ve just got to be careful in the wording and imagery they use.”