Changes to Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act effective January 1, 2010

In 2007, the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act was enacted in anticipation of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The Act provided the Vancouver Organizing Committee, and any subsequent Canadian Olympic organizing committee, with considerable legal powers to prevent the unauthorized use of Olympic and Paralympic marks by those seeking to profit from an unauthorized association with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Act contains three (3) schedules of Olympic and Paralympic marks. Protection of Schedule 2 and 3 marks , such as CANADA 2010 and 2010, expired on December 31, 2010. However, protection for Schedule 1 marks (e.g. the Olympic rings, CANADIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE and FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER) remains in effect until the legislation is repealed or amended.

Significance

The Canadian Trade-marks Office recently advised that effective January 1, 2011, it will no longer object to marks that consists of or so nearly resembles an Olympic or Paralympic mark listed in Schedule 2 or 3 of the Act. However, that does not mean that such applications will automatically be approved by the Office, as a number of the Schedule 2 and 3 marks are still the subject of advertised official marks.

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