With several of sports most iconic events only weeks away, we remind our clients to watch their promotions and social media posts closely to make sure they avoid implying a tie-in with any of these events, particularly where the name of the event (OLYMPICS, SUPER BOWL, and MARCH MADNESS) or logo (Olympics rings) is used in the post or promotion. The OLYMPICS name and rings are the subject of statutory protection, and the SUPER BOWL and MARCH MADNESS marks are protected by trademark registrations. The three organizations that own these events are notoriously aggressive in protecting these rights – which is understandable, as much of their income is derived from sponsorship. Unless you are an official sponsor, we recommend that you NOT use the names or logos associated with these events at all, but instead use phrases like “the big game” or “the winter games” if you must refer to these events in your promotions or social media posts.

This article appeared in the January 2014 issue of MarkIt to Market. To view our past issues, as well as other firm newsletters, please click here.