From the Olympic rings to the 2020 Tokyo logo – these identifications create the unique character of the Olympic Games.

People around the world associate the Olympic brand with excellence, teamwork, and unity. Strong intellectual property protections play a critical role in safeguarding this brand for future games, athletes, and consumers.

During Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the national government of Japan pledged to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they would abide by the Olympic Charter and protect all Olympic-related intellectual properties.

The intellectual properties of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, include the Olympic symbol (the five rings), the Paralympic symbol (agitos), emblems, mascots, images, and sounds. Specific editions of the Olympic Games are also protected, including the city and year word mark (“Tokyo 2020,” for example)

However, the five Olympic rings are protected under its own treaty. The Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol “prohibits any appropriate measures” of the use of the symbol for commercial purposes unless authorized to do by the IOC.

Additionally, the IOC registers their trademarks through the WIPO Madrid system.

For the Tokyo 2020 games, the use of these properties are managed by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), the Japanese Paralympic Committee (JPC), and the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the games kick off, the intellectual property rights within the Olympics ensures its growth and economic development is used for the benefit of the games, the host country, and the participating athletes.

Suiter Swantz IP is a full-service intellectual property law firm providing client-centric patenttrademark, and copyright services. If you need assistance with an intellectual property matter and would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please contact us at