COC and CBC on the road to court

The COC accuses the broadcaster of defying its Olympic trademark

COC and CBC on the road to courtDisclaimer: if the following article violates a trademark or patent that belongs to the Canadian Olympic Committee, we are very, very sorry. In no way is this story an attempt to improperly profit from slogans or phrases rightfully owned by the COC.

Now to the news. The Canadian Olympic Committee—notoriously protective of its brands and logos—is locked in a court battle with the CBC over the network’s continued use of a rather generic catchphrase: “Road to the Games.” The COC, which owns the slogan “Road to Vancouver,” is accusing the public broadcaster of defying its trademark and trying to “mislead viewers into believing” it is affiliated with the 2010 Games.

This isn’t the first time the COC has tried to defend its wares in court. Two years ago, it locked horns with the Canadian Athletes Now Fund, an independent charity that coined the popular slogans “See You In Sydney,” “See you In Torino,” etc. The COC eventually lost, and last month a judge ordered it to reimburse the Fund more than $10,000 in legal costs. The committee also accused a gay men’s chat line of copying one of its logos (two stick men locked in a wrestling pose) only to back down after some unflattering press coverage.

The CBC scuffle is a tad more complex. Although the network no longer owns Olympic broadcasting rights (that privilege now belongs to CTV), it claims special status as a so-called “public authority.” David Bedford, the COC’s executive director of marketing, says he is hopeful the two sides can reach a settlement. “I hate to suggest it’s about dollars and cents,” he says. “But when you have companies spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the legitimate rights to associate with the Games, it implores you to protect their investment and not let others who have not acquired that right to utilize it.”