A Hertfordshire based removals firm, Olympic Removals, has been threatened with trade mark infringement proceedings by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) over the use of the Olympic Rings symbol as its company logo. Olympic Removals claims to have used the same company logo for 22 years, and has indicated that it will not change its logo despite the threat of infringement proceedings. However, the firm has suggested that it would consider changing its logo in return for compensation.

The "Olympic Rings" symbol is one of the most recognised trade marks in the world, along with corporate brands such as Coca Cola, Google, Nike and Virgin. In the UK, the use of the Olympic Rings symbol, along with other Olympic-related logos and words, is controlled by the Olympic Symbol etc (Protection) Act 1995 ("the Act"), which allows infringement claims to be brought against those using protected items without permission.

There are, however, certain exceptions to what is considered to be infringement under the Act, including use of protected items in a context which is not likely to suggest an association with the Olympic Games or the Olympic movement. It has also been suggested that Olympic Removals may have a defence to an infringement claim if, as the firm claims, its company logo has been used since before the Act came into force.

It remains to be seen whether LOCOG will pursue this matter further.

See: Hertfordshire Mercury, 24 July 2009 IP World, 3 August 2009