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Olympic and Paralympic brand protection legislation tabled by Government of Canada


The Government of Canada demonstrated its commitment to a financially successful 2010 Winter Games with lasting legacies for Canadian athletes today with the tabling of a bill in the House of Commons by the Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry.

This proposed legislation, known as The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, would provide special time-limited intellectual property protection for Olympic and Paralympic words and symbols associated with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and provide protection against any unauthorized business association with the Games, often known as ‘ambush marketing’.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) has an obligation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), its sponsors and government partners to protect the Olympic and Paralympic Brands in Canada. As part of this commitment, VANOC has been engaged in extensive dialogue with Industry Canada on the need for this legislation to ensure adequate protection of the Olympic and Paralympic Brands.

With the introduction of this bill, Canada is following the best practices of other host countries to enact special legislation for Olympic and Paralympic marks including Australia (Sydney 2000 Summer Games), Greece (Athens 2004 Summer Games), Italy (Torino 2006 Winter Games) and China (Beijing 2008 Summer Games). Canadian Parliament adopted legislation for the Montreal 1976 Summer Games. The most similar legislation to the The Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act was enacted in Australia for the Sydney 2000 Summer Games and is already in place for the London 2012 Summer Games.

“We commend Minister Bernier on the proposed legislation that will strengthen the legacy for our athletes by giving our sponsors greater assurance that their exclusive rights will be protected,” said Dave Cobb, VANOC executive vice president, Revenue, Marketing and Communications. “The 2010 Winter Games will be one of the biggest events in our nation’s history and to stage successful Games we need the continued support of Canadian sponsors. The positive financial and infrastructure legacies of the 2010 Games for our athletes and all Canadians will be felt for generations.

”VANOC is committed to applying the proposed legislation in a disciplined, sensitive, fair and transparent manner. In this regard, VANOC intends to provide enhanced guidance to the public on the proper use of Olympic and Paralympic marks ( For example, VANOC is developing detailed guidelines that will be available to the public shortly. The proposed legislation will not be retroactive, and will therefore not apply to prior brand infringement cases.

“A sponsorship program that properly protects sponsor exclusivity will continue to attract top-level sponsors who are confident their investment will be protected,” said Cobb. “Many of these sponsors are also providing significant funds now to help our Canadian athletes go for gold in 2010. And post-Games, if our success includes a financial surplus, funds will go back into the Canadian sports system to directly benefit athletes,” he concluded.

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.


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