The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is a private, not-for-profit organization and as a National Olympic Committee (NOC), has a legal duty to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its sponsors to monitor and protect the Olympic Brand in Canada.
In order to fulfill this duty, the COC has developed a balanced approach to Olympic Brand use that relies on education, assessment, and enforcement to respond appropriately to all commercial and non-commercial infringements or misuses of the Olympic Brand in Canada.
The following information is intended to provide the general public, community institutions and business community with an opportunity to become informed about the COC’s perspective and approach.
Athlete Marketing/Rule 40 – Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022
Rule 40 Background
Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter is an eligibility rule of the IOC introduced for the purpose of maintaining the unique global nature of the Olympic Games. The rule helps ensure global participation at the Games, the funding of the Games and the long-term health of the Olympic Movement by maintaining the appeal of Olympic sponsorship at both the global and national level.
Byelaw 40.3 states: “Competitors, team officials and other team personnel who participate in the Olympic Games may allow their person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games in accordance with the principles determined by the IOC Executive Board.”
The IOC released guidance on July 4, 2019 which includes the “key principles” determined by the IOC Executive Board for implementation of byelaw 40.3 for the Tokyo 2020 Games. On February 11, 2021, the IOC released updated guidance for the Tokyo 2020 Games as well as similar “key principles” for the Beijing 2022 Games.
The COC is responsible for the implementation of these key principles in Canada.
COC Athlete Marketing/Rule 40 Guidance for Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022
The COC has released updated Rule 40 guidance for the Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 Games available for download here (English) and here (French).
These guidelines outline how COC will implement Rule 40 in Canada during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (being held in 2021) and the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, including how athletes may continue to promote their personal sponsors (i.e. brands and companies who are not Olympic partners), and how these sponsors may continue to feature athletes in advertising during the Rule 40 period (the “Games Period”).
Who Does it Apply to?
Rule 40 applies to all athletes, coaches, trainers and officials who will participate in the Tokyo 2020 and/or Beijing 2022 Games. It does not apply to alumni.
When Does it Apply?
The Tokyo 2020 Games Period runs from July 13, 2021 – August 10, 2021.
The Beijing 2022 Games Period runs from January 27, 2022 – February 22, 2022.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Olympic Brand in Canada – what is it?
The ‘Olympic Brand’ is comprised of the names, phrases, marks, logos and designs relating to the Olympic Movement. This includes, but is not limited to, those relating to specific Olympic Games, the Canadian Olympic Team, Olympic moments and the accomplishments of Olympians. Use of the Olympic Brand in Canada is subject to COC authorization.
Why protect the Olympic Brand?
The COC relies heavily on the sale of exclusive marking rights to generate revenue, which is used to fund the Canadian Olympic Team’s preparation and participation at Olympic and Pan American Games. Thus, the awarding, management and protection of exclusive marketing rights surrounding the Olympic Brand in Canada is necessary to sustain Canada’s participation in the global Olympic Movement.
Only official sponsors, licensees and partners of the COC are permitted to suggest an affiliation or connection with the Olympic Movement in Canada. When companies create false or misleading commercial associations with the Olympic Brand without making the financial investment required to secure official marketing rights, they are threatening the COC’s sponsorship and licensing programs and impair the COC’s ability to attract future sponsors and licensees. Protecting sponsor rights will encourage continued support of Canadian athletes and foster the success of our current and future Olympians.
How can I get more information?
The COC recognizes that a variety of groups and a significant number of the Canadian public are keen on engaging with or referencing the Olympic Brand in Canada. The COC has created guidelines and educational resources organized by interest group that provide specific information and examples relating to Olympic Brand use in Canada. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Who are the Official Canadian Olympic Sponsors?
Please visit our Marketing Partner page to learn more about our partners who make the Olympic Movement in Canada possible.
How do I report misuses of the Olympic Brand?
The general public, community institutions and business community can greatly assist our efforts to protect the Olympic Brand. If you encounter infringing marketing tactics, counterfeit merchandise or other misuses of the Olympic Brand, we encourage you to fill out the form below and e-mail the completed copy to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These Guidelines are not legal advice and any information contained herein does not in any way limit the COC’s legal rights and remedies. If you think you may have infringed the COC’s rights, or you are proposing to do something which you think may infringe the COC’s rights, we recommend that you seek independent legal advice.