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USOC: a primer on safeguarding intellectual property rights

Are you paying attention to Rio2016?

The United States Olympic Committee is pretty sure -- OK, let's just say knows fully well -- that television sets from Florida to Hawaii are squarely dialed in on sports events currently playing out in Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere across Brazil during the so-called 31st Olympiad.

And while they are, USOC officials are just as fixated on commercial efforts to associate athletes, products and services to the global spectacle.

That is, they're most definitely scanning for business attempts to make use of Trademarks belonging to either the USOC or the International Olympic Committee.

And here's their bottom-line take on that: They don't begrudge at all marketing campaigns and advertizing thrusts that aim to profit from linkage with the Olympics, provided (and that word might just as well be bolded and in uppercase) that businesses using terms like Olympic, Olympian, Go For The Gold and, yes, Rio2016 have paid for the privilege.

Woe to them if they haven't, because the USOC is every bit as serious about getting its due as is Michael Phelps every time he jumps into the water.

A recent ESPN article on the Olympic Games and intellectual property protection notes that the USOC has been quite busy lately, sending warning letters to entities that sponsor athletes yet lack an approved Olympic sponsorship designation.

Truly, no company wants to fit that bill. Those that do might as well immediately brace for some upcoming adversity from an organization that is uncompromisingly serious about safeguarding its property.

USOC's chief marketing officer Lisa Baird quite clearly delivers the message that you'd better pay if you want to play.

"We need to give sponsors exclusivity to our intellectual property that is protected by U.S. law," she says.

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