Blast from the Past: Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol

The Olympics are finally here!

IPKenya reckons now is as good a time as any to remind everyone that Nairobi once hosted an important international conference on 26 September 1981 which culminated in the adoption of the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol. The Nairobi Treaty entered into force in September 25, 1982.

A full copy of the Nairobi Treaty text is available here.

As one of the most recognisable logos in the world, all States which are party to the Nairobi Treaty are under the obligation to protect the Olympic symbol against use for commercial purposes without the authorization of the International Olympic Committee. The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings: blue, yellow, black, green and red, arranged in that order from left to right. It consists of the Olympic rings alone, whether delineated in a single color or in different colors.

Any State member of WIPO, United Nations or the International Union (Paris Union) for the Protection of Industrial Property may become party to this Treaty.

The Treaty provides that all State parties must refuse or invalidate the registration as a mark and to prohibit by appropriate measures the use, as a mark or other sign, for commercial purposes, of any sign consisting of or containing the Olympic symbol, as defined in the Charter of the International Olympic Committee, except with the authorization of the International Olympic Committee.

An important effect of the Nairobi Treaty is that, if the International Olympic Committee grants authorization for the use of the Olympic symbol in a State party to the Treaty, the National Olympic Committee of that State is entitled to a part in any revenue the International Olympic Committee obtains for granting the said authorizations.

With that said, IPKenya would like wish all the olympians well, particularly those representing Africa’s 53 countries.

Let the Games of the XXX Olympiad begin!


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