back to article Olympians threaten ICANN with lawsuit

The International Olympic Committee is threatening to sue the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers if they don't receive protection for IOC trademarks in ICANN's upcoming revisions to its generic top-level domains (gTLD) guidelines. "If these critical issues are not fully resolved and ICANN chooses not to place …


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  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Hurrah for the IOC, er...

    Though it pains me to side with the IOC, they are probably right on this one. New TLDs will serve no-one except the domain squatters and their registrar chums.

    1. copsewood
      Black Helicopters

      ICANN vulnerability to competition

      ICANN have probably done the maths and worked out that flogging any TLD that any registrant wants for a fat fee will not only increase their take. It will also make it increasingly difficult for their less limited role to be taken over by a more democratically accountable organisation. At the moment it would be very difficult for them to get away with hanky panky over the root zone because there are relatively few TLDs and the contents of the root zone are so well known and change infrequently. This makes it relatively easy for another organisation to take over maintenance of this file and to establish an alternative trust anchor.

      Establishing a new TLD should require a substantial international organisation with support from a majority of exising TLDs to take over responsibility for the new domain.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    http://www.nude.olympics ...hmm, i wonder what's in there

    WIth only one domain for each country (including former countries), so probably only about 200 domains in the whole TLD. Sounds like a waste of space to me.

    Just remember, in five years or less, you'll be moving your domains from .com, .net, .us, .eu, to .earth. It will run wholly inside google's network, and ICANN will get to take a hike.

    Think about it.

    Now think about this. When you use google search, and mouse-over a link, do you confirm that the page you end up on has the same address? Fooling most people would be simple. It would even work for https, since I'm sure google could create a certificate for since they own the .google TLD. Hell, since they're creating their own TLD, why not create ./google, then your URL would look like this: I'm pretty sure they could code Chrome to accept the name containg a "/",

    This would make F. Kafka unable to sleep at night.*

    be woried. And yes (*), I know he's dead; I googled it

  3. frank ly

    Prior Use

    1. Sneed Hearn

      ... and more

      Google "olympic restaurant" and get ~5.1e^6 hits.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    What about

    .. the Mathematical Olympiad?

    1. Ivan Slavkov

      They discussed that one with me

      Everything can be arranged ya know... Wink.. Wink.. Wink...

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    ICANN stand firm

    If it gives in on this then every tin top organisation is going to claim that its name is somehow sacred and needs to be given special protection.

    Anyway the IOC are a bunch of parasites who seem to be more interested in money than sport. Why on earth were they were allowed to force a name change on long established East London greek restaurants who had the word 'Olympic' in their name.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Because ...

      You are the owner of a small East London Greek restaurant - maybe turnover of, say £500,000, and you just about turn a profit of, say £20,000. And you get a letter from the IOC threatening you with a civil action (including damages) if you do not change your name.

      Morally, you have a good case, but you take legal advice. Your counsel advices that while you have a "good case", it will cost you £10,000 to mount a defence. He then tells you that winning isn't guaranteed, and furthermore, because you chose to fight, damages will be set high. And in addition to that, you would cop the other sides legal costs, which will easily exceed your £10,000 already invested.

      On the other hand, you know some mates who can paint and print, and a name change would set you back £500

      What would *you* do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because

        >What would *you* do.

        If the dispute was over Olympic which is an adjective, personally I would tell them to swivel as I'm a bolshy bastard who would rather burn 10,000 than give them sixpence.

        The protected word is Olympics

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Don't forget the IOC thinks of itself much more grandly than just a running and jumping club. It has observer status at the United Nations and regularly demands (and gets) major changes to national laws so it can keep raking in the money.

      Didn't New Labour change UK law to give police the power to enter your home if you have the temerity to put up a sign saying you think the London 2012 drug fest might not be an entirely good thing?

  6. Pen-y-gors
    Thumb Down

    Not sure about this one

    Presumably they've only been zealously defending their trademark in the area of Sport and Games - they don't seem to be worried about Olympic Air, Olympic Holidays, Olympic National park, Olympic Shipping, Olympic College, Olympic Steel, Olympic Color Rods, Olympic Cellars (home of Working Girl Wines), Olympic Kilns, and of course, Olympic Arms Inc, of Olympia WA [and that's just the first two pages of google] - and in the UK there is Olympic Oils, Olympic Cars (Stroud), Olympic Wholesale Stationers etc. - sounds as if they've given up all rights in the word except in relation to Games. So why shouldn't the good folk of Olympia WA (founded 1850) be able to get a gTLD of Olympic?

    Of course in the UK they've been allowed to trademark numbers and placenames as well - I believe it's a capital offence to mention a certain major sporting event together with the name of the capital of England and the year before 2013 in the same breath unless you pay an extortionate fee to become the 'official tinned tuna (100g size) of London 2012' or whatever....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ludicrous Ludics

      I work for a premier partner of the 2012 sporting event held in an island nation to the north of France. The strictures around the use of the year, place, and organisation supporting the sporting events to be held are so insane that, at least day-to-day, we have to ignore them to be able to speak of them at all. We had to create a whole department to handle communications about this event. The other financial hand-cuffs and the huge expenses involved in dealing with the Swiss-based organisers of this famous four-yearly event are outrageous and eye-watering. What good we reap from being a premier partner will be interesting to find out. We handed over substantial double-digit millions for this august partnership, and what we get is the right to use this event's grotesque logo. Having seen how this Helvetian Sporting Body operates, close up, has left me with nothing but contempt.

      The very fact that I can easily use these absurd circumlocutions tells you how Orwellian life has become, now that we are premier partners. Language is corrupted along with all else.

      AC for obvious reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The way you describe them....

        You make FIFA sound like an organisation of outstanding probity and open-mindedness

  7. Blofeld's Cat

    A possible solution

    I know this may seem rather radical, but couldn't they register the domains they want protecting, just like everybody else?

    I don't think the IOC are exactly short of money, and I imagine you could get many years or registration for just a few hours of any lawyer's time.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      @Blofeld's Cat

      Because if they get it as a reserved name, pretty much any address with Olympic or Olympiad will be protected in the TLDs run by ICANN, not just the ones they choose to register. Just think of the near infinite number of combinations they would have to register in order to protect them.

      Not that I agree with the IOC. I do not think that they should have preferential treatment, especially when they do their damnedest to control all media during the games.

  8. Sean Hunter

    Unaccountable quangocrats

    Unfortunately I'm not sure if I'm talking about the IOC or the ICANN there.

  9. Individual #6/42

    IOC gone rabid

    Whilst abhoring cybersquatters and their ilk I'm afraid that the IOC's attempt to trademark all the elements of Mount Olympus (Named well in advance of any games) and Five Linked Rings (Prior Art Sun Tzu) have become excessive of late. Thankfully they've not gone after the Percy Jackson books but frankly I cannot see any rationale for special consideration.

  10. Individual #6/42

    Not Sun Tzu, Miyamoto Musashi

    Apologies to the honourable gentlemen

  11. Christoph

    Reserve every possible TLD

    Why should the five-ring circus have special treatment? Reserve the name of every business and organisation on the planet.

  12. M7S

    GIven that Olympus is a place (in fact there's at least two)

    and Olympic describes things "of that place", should Stavros set up his running shoe shop there, it would be perfectly reasonsable that he be allowed to describe it using terms these people would seek to outlaw.

    Better surely that they just rise above it all. No?

    Personally I'm against them simply because of the restrictions they're seeking to place on ordinary citizens in London during this blinged-up running race in two years time.

    1. Just Thinking


      I am quite surprised they were allowed to trademark the name Olympic in the first place. I thought you were not allowed to trademark words which are either decriptive or commonly used within the particular trade. Both seem to apply to Olympic with respect to sport.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Just thinking

        A trademark is not strictly speaking a word it is more a graphic and as such should not be the basis for requesting special consideration.

        The IOC is deliberately causing confusion between the adjective Olympic the noun Olympiad and the trademark graphics which happen to contain those words. Even if the trademark is only the word itself it is only protected from others using the same design, colour, font and so on. The word itself is not a trademark.

  13. billse10

    just register them like normal people

    idiots. Next they'll be suing a retirement home and selected residents of Olympiad Drive, WA.

  14. The Beer Monster

    At least they're keeping their hands off


  15. Mark C 2
    Paris Hilton

    @Ludicrous Ludics #

    You must be referring to the London 2012 Olympics (I know you can't possibly comment). Am I in breach of some sort of trademark law by even mentioning the London 2012 Olympics?

    I find it amazing that junk foods (Burgers, Cola, Chocolate) which no Olympian would dream of touching and are, perhaps, the very antithesis of the Olympic spirit of physical perfection, are touted as the official food of the Olympics.

    I know it is just a matter of a large sum of $s but surely tobacco could do the same (local advertising ban notwithstanding). Or would that be one step too far?

    'Benson & Hedges Special Filter, official smoke of the London 2012 Olympics'!

    Yes, we need the IOC and FIFA to become transparent and held to account by an independent external body.

    Paris...because Hilton could be the official hotel provider (it is Holiday Inn).

    1. Danny 14

      McD's always has a hand

      I mean, FFS coke and burgers are hardly the food of choice for serious athletes now.

    2. Steven Knox


      "I find it amazing that junk foods (Burgers, Cola, Chocolate) which no Olympian would dream of touching and are, perhaps, the very antithesis of the Olympic spirit of physical perfection, are touted as the official food of the Olympics."

      Actually, high-calorie foods like you describe are not so much junk for people who burn through 5-10 thousand calories a day in training. A lot of the foods which are probably destined to kill most of us lazy desk jockeys are the extreme athlete's *ahem* meat and potatoes.

    3. Al Jones

      Tell that to Usain Bolt!

      Usain Bolt is quite fond of chicken nuggets!

      Olympic 100m hero Usain Bolt powered by chicken nuggets and yams

  16. Kay Burley ate my hamster
    Thumb Up

    Reserve them

    ...and sell the TLD's to them at 10% the potential revenue rate.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I'm pretty sure they have a TLD already

    it's WANKER.

  18. Kimo

    It's the water.

    When I was a bit younger, "Oly" (Olympia) was THE cheap beer for getting wasted on a Saturday night.

    Not relevant, so carry on.

  19. Eduard Coli

    Great job

    The IOC, the same people that chose Rio over Chicago over security concerns.

    While some might say Chicago does have security concerns, in Rio the police regularly lose battles with the gangs.

  20. Daniel B.

    Olympic Madness

    I remember seeing this madness with a series of state sports event being called the "something Olympics", until the IOC came slamming down. I remember the Math Olympics or something like that, haven't seen them being slammed though.

    I've found the thing really stupid. What's next, suing the God of War series because it takes place in the Olympiad? Suing the Percy Jackson writer because it has "new Olympians"?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    OK, who the F thinks they own "bank" !!!!

    WFT!!! Madness...

  22. JaitcH

    Tell these commercial rip-off artists to go take a jump

    Every where the Olympics are held is preceded by a drive to stamp out the use of anything with OLYMPI .... the name.

    When the international commercial extortion scheme went to Canada they even chased down restaurants all over the country even if they had been using the name for years. One, owned by proud Greek, fought them and won. Others, with less fortitude, caved in to the pressure.

    When Greece helped itself into bankruptcy by hosting the Samaranch glorification celebrations the Ico had a problem since not only the national carrier used 'their' name, but so to did a lot of proud Greek businessmen.

    It all started with that old reprobate Samaranch, who was involved STILL as Honorary President for Life of the International Olympic Committee and still had his snout in the trough until he died, who managed to get his son a permanent job with the IOC.

    Many entities have used the word Olympic before the IOC even came along and has since spent a lot of time and money trying to persuade governments they own the word.

    ICANN should tell the IOC to go whistle Dixie ... unfortunately both entities have things in common, one being some members are self-worshipping, incestuous, glory seeking bastards.

  23. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Prior Art

    But surely the words were in common use thousands of years before the IOC were formed? Even if you ignore the original olympics there was an olympiad in an English village a few years before the "official" first olympiad.

  24. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    They've sort of given the game away by threatening to sue ICANN. It's all about revenue.

    They don't really want to protect the use of those words in domain names or anywhere else for their own use. They want to control them and make money in the process. The IOC want to decide who gets to use the words and charge them handsomely for the privilege.

    Do you think they'll try to sue Olympic Air (or any of those other companies who reference Olympia or Olympus) or Olympus for that matter.

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