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Jealous mistress: the USOC and intellectual property rights

It's that time again, that once-every-four-years period that plays out in magical fashion for two weeks during the summer for many millions of people across the globe.

And that includes the United States, too, of course, where Olympic fever burns hot every fourth summer as America's premier athletes go for the gold in the world's preeminent athletic competition.

Flat out, people are transfixed with the global spectacle, glued to their televisions from start to finish.

And that includes -- in fact, most centrally includes -- lawyers and marketing officers from the United States Olympic Committee, who zealously guard the USOC's many trademarks against infringement.

Take that above reference "go for the gold." It survives scrutiny here, in a media context not directly related to an Olympic-connected event, but it bears noting that when denoted "Go For the Gold" and used in connection with the Olympic Games, the use had better be approved by the USOC.

Because if it's not, someone is certain to get a cease-and-desist letter in a hurry, with attendant legal threats. Ditto for use of things like the Olympic rings images, use of the words Rio2016, TeamUSA and even the word Olympic itself, as well as Olympian.

The USOC is a jealous mistress, especially when it comes to the use of proprietary intellectual property by a company having a marketing relationship with an Olympic athlete when that company lacks a sponsorship designation from either the USOC or the International Olympic Committee.

Think of that the next time you see a commercial with a medaled athlete having his or her hands wrapped around a bottle of Coca-Cola or wearing a pair of Levi jeans.

Those companies have paid for the privilege of having that Olympic-related nexus.

And if they haven't, they're going to find out in a hurry just how piqued -- and litigious -- the IOC and/or USOC can be.

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