Bakers who use the Olympic ‘five rings’ or 2012 logos on products without permission risk being taken to court.
Both logos and the official mascots, plus terms such as ‘Olympic’ and ‘Olympian’, are trademarked by the International Olympic Committee, which has a track record of rigorously protecting its copyright.
The IOC recently refused the British Sugarcraft Guild permission to use any of the images as part of the Guild’s International Sugarcraft Exhibition next year, which was scheduled to have an Olympic theme.
The news will hamper the plans of many bakers, who were gearing up for bumper sales during the games with Olympic-themed products. At Dunn’s Bakery in Crouch End, north London, owner Christopher Freeman said that the restrictions on using the IOC trademarks would make life difficult for bakers.
“The Olympics should be an opportunity that we can all take advantage of, but I’m struggling to come up with ideas for products,” he said. “Hopefully some of the large sugarcraft suppliers will produce plaques under licence that carry the Olympic logos.”
At legal firm Eversheds, which specialises in trademarks in the food sector, solicitor Kaisa Mattila, said that any attempt by a company to associate itself with the games without authorisation could lead to sanctions. This could include using images of medals or sporting events.
“The IOC has a very strict approach, because it wants to preserve the official sponsors’ exclusivity,” she said. “Depending on the severity of the infringement, companies might receive a warning letter in the first instance, a court order to withdraw products or could ultimately be sued. We would advise traders to exercise extreme caution.”