Anywhere you see Olympic rings or the words "Proud Olympic Sponsors", you'll see "36 USC 380". 36 USC 380 is the section of the Unites States Code that deals with the use of the Olympics' trademarks and trade names.


 
Sec. 380. Use of Olympic symbols, emblems, trademarks and names

  • (a) Unauthorized use; civil action; lawful use prior to September 21, 1950.

    Without the consent of the Corporation, any person who uses for the purpose of trade, to induce the sale of any goods or services, or to promote any theatrical exhibition, athletic performance, or competition -

    • (1) the symbol of the International Olympic Committee, consisting of 5 interlocking rings;

    • (2) the emblem of the Corporation, consisting of an escutcheon having a blue chief and vertically extending red and white bars on the base with 5 interlocking rings displayed on the chief;

    • (3) any trademark, trade name, sign, symbol, or insignia falsely representing association with, or authorization by, the International Olympic Committee or the Corporation; or

    • (4) the words "Olympic", "Olympiad", "Citius Altius Fortius", or any combination or simulation thereof tending to cause confusion, to cause mistake, to deceive, or to falsely suggest a connection with the Corporation or any Olympic activity; shall be subject to suit in a civil action by the Corporation for the remedies provided in the Act of July 5, 1946 (60 Stat. 427; popularly known as the Trademark Act of 1946) (15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.). However, any person who actually used the emblem in subsection (a)(2) of this section, or the words, or any combination thereof, in subsection (a)(4) of this section for any lawful purpose prior to September 21, 1950, shall not be prohibited by this section from continuing such lawful use for the same purpose and for the same goods or services. In addition, any person who actually used, or whose assignor actually used, any other trademark, trade name, sign, symbol, or insignia described in subsections (a)(3) and (4) of this section for any lawful purpose prior to September 21, 1950 shall not be prohibited by this section from continuing such lawful use for the same purpose and for the same goods or services.

  • (b) Contributors and suppliers

    The Corporation may authorize contributors and suppliers of goods or services to use the trade name of the Corporation as well as any trademark, symbol, insignia, or emblem of the International Olympic Committee or of the Corporation in advertising that the contributions, goods, or services were donated, supplied, or furnished to or for the use of, approved, selected, or used by the Corporation or United States Olympic or Pan-American team or team members.

  • (c) Exclusive right of Corporation

    The Corporation shall have exclusive right to use the name "United States Olympic Committee"; the symbol described in subsection (a)(1) of this section; the emblem described in subsection (a)(2) of this section; and the words "Olympic", "Olympiad", "Citius Altius Fortius" or any combination thereof subject to the preexisting rights described in subsection (a) of this section.

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