It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and enthusiasm of the Olympics, but companies and employees should be aware of the rules that govern the use of all social media posts related to the games. The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have warned businesses not to create social media posts that are Olympic themed, feature Olympic trademarks, include games imagery or even congratulate Olympic performance unless the business is an official sponsor.

Just like any trademark owner, the USOC is serious about protecting the quality and integrity of its brand(s). In an effort to increase the value of their sponsorship, the USOC will challenge commercial entities that use the Olympic trademarks without receiving official permission. Not surprising, violators will be asked to remove the content from the social media site or face legal action against the business. Unless a company’s primary business is disseminating news and information, social media platforms are considered commercial in nature serving to promote the company (e.g. increase sales).

Note that these restrictions do not apply to personal social media accounts (non-business related). Additional guidelines about Olympic brand usage can be found online.