There is no question that the Summer Olympics in Beijing pose a tremendous marketing opportunity. They also pose a great opportunity for the development of effective techniques for enforcing intellectual property rights. China has already enacted special regulations governing the protection of Olympic symbols and has established special regulations governing the enforcement of those regulations. Yet many of the cultural and political issues that impact China’s enforcement activities in other arenas (including counterfeiting and piracy of IP protected goods and services) remain problematic. Furthermore, while the Olympic symbols may be the subject of heightened protection, cultural perceptions of the differences between commercial marks and Olympic symbols may make any appreciable “improvement” in IPR protection evanescent. The opportunity, however, for increased dialogue and training should not be lost. In the glow of gold medal competitions, IP owners who follow a rational approach may well find that the benefits of their efforts last long after the closing ceremonies in Beijing.
Doris Estelle Long, Trademarks and the Beijing Olympics: Gold Medal Challenges, 7 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 433 (2008)