Yesterday, the International Olympic Committee announced its decision to delay the 2020 Tokyo games until 2021. The decision comes in the midst of the global health crisis, and is an extraordinary one. The Olympic games have never been postponed, and have only been cancelled during the midst of the world wars in 1916, 1940, and 1944. The postponement will have a domino effect on other sports competitions, such as world championships currently scheduled for 2021, on venues and employees in Tokyo who must now wait a year, and broadcast rights that may be the subjects of tense renegotiations. But what will not be affected? Trademarks.
The games will retain the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Among other things, this means that the IOC and the United States Olympic Committee can rely on the trademark registrations already secured for the games. In the United States, the IOC started filing applications for the TOKYO 2020 trademarks in 2012. The resulting registrations, which were transferred to the USOC, include a registration for the word mark TOKYO 2020, a registration for a composite mark comprised of the Olympic rings and the words TOKYO 2020, and a registration for the below composite mark, all for a wide array of goods and services.
Notoriously aggressive about protecting its trademark rights, the USOC owns a number of other Tokyo-specific trademark applications and registrations, including applications for ON TARGET FOR TOKYO, ROW TO TOKYO, and GATEWAY TO TOKYO and registrations for ROAD TO TOKYO and TOKYO STRONG. It started filing applications—some of which have already matured to registration—for the Los Angeles 2028 games in 2017, more than a decade before the games will begin.
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