Guarding Olympic name – Biggest ever ‘cybersquatter’ suit

Three governing bodies have filed suit to shut down more than 1,800 Web sites that they charge are illegally profiting from official Olympic trademarks, the Standard reported July 11.

The suit, which is being billed as the biggest crackdown on cybersquatters in history, was filed June 20 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. by the International Olympic Committee, the United States Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002. The groups seek a court ruling to shut down the sites, all of which contain the trademarked names “Olympic,” “Olympics” or “Olympiad.”

Official Olympic sites have generated little traffic. The committees argue that if their web sites are to become a viable source of revenue, the squatters must be shut down.

The case was filed in the U.S. to take advantage of recent legislation. Under the law, the holder of a copyright or trademark can sue to shut down a domain name that is in violation of U.S. trademark laws no matter what country the owner lives in.

The governing bodies of the Olympics have a history of rigorously protecting their trademarks. Those trademarks have become big business through licensing deals with television networks and corporate sponsors.

For full story, go to the Standard.

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