Olympic success: greasy pole meets greasy spoon

Stratford's distinctive "Cafe Olympic" may have to be
pulled down because it looks too much like the
nearby Olympic Stadium, say legal experts ...
Success in a tough and competitive event such as the Olympic Games has been likened to climbing a greasy pole.  However, next year's Olympics in London have a touch of the greasy spoon about them too.  Newham Council, the local council to London's Stratford Olympic Park, is currently looking into the activities of a small 'greasy spoon' eaterie, Café Olympic, over its use of the Olympic name. Under the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995, which was amended in 2006 after London won the right to host the Games in 2012, use of the Olympic name and symbols is strictly prohibited, along with certain protected words including Olympians, Olympiad, Games and 2012. Words such as 'London', 'gold', 'silver', 'bronze' and medals used in conjunction with Olympic or 2012 could also infringe the 2006 Act [But there's still some good news, says Merpel: other words and expressions long associated with the Olympics, such as 'wooden spoon', 'beaten into fourth place', 'dope','cheat', 'peaked too early', 'didn't live up to expectations', 'banned substances' and 'failed test' may still be used with impunity].

The owner of Café Olympic, Kamel Khichane, claimed Newham Council had only advised against use of the Olympic Rings [which just goes to show that, if you want reliable intellectual property advice, the place to go is probably not Newham Council]. Kirsten Gilbert (partner at Marks & Clerk Solicitors, which supplied this information) comments:
“Businesses such as Café Olympic and its neighbours the Olympic Café and Olympic Internet need to be aware of the potential illegality of their names. Newham Council, as the local council to the Olympic site, must do its best to educate local traders to ensure that they are aware of the trade mark protection surrounding the Games. ...
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has very wide ranging powers to ensure that no-one piggy-backs on the event [not so fast, says, the Kat: piggy-back races have yet to achieve Olympic recognition!] to violate sponsors’ rights. When assessing a potential infringement, LOCOG will be looking at whether a person or company is looking to create an impression of association so businesses will need to tread very carefully. 
“The case of Café Olympic serves as a warning to businesses hoping to benefit from the Games [unless, of course, they happen to be the sponsors].”
Greasy Spoon here
Wooden Spoon here
UK Competition Commission here and here
Cat Olympics here
Olympic success: greasy pole meets greasy spoon Olympic success: greasy pole meets greasy spoon Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, February 08, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. Presumably the use of the description "olympic size swimming pool" is also forbidden. Is the use of Olympia allowed? Presumably Olympus is not affected.

  2. I am sure OLYMPUS would Mount a hearty legal challenge if Newham tried to ban them.

    We should await objection to sales of clothing said to be in sizes 20-12


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