The International Olympic Committee successfully cancels third party registration for “PARIS 2024”
In 2013, at a time when Paris was positioning itself as the favourite venue for the 2024 Olympic Games, four individuals applied to register the trademark “PARIS 2024” for, among other services, sporting and cultural activities.
The IOC, as the body responsible for the coordination of the Olympic Games, brought an action for the revocation of the trademark for lack of use over a continuous period of five years and, subsidiarily, an invalidity action on the grounds of bad faith in the application.
Consequently, on 25 November 2022, the Commercial Court of Barcelona No. 6 issued Ruling No. 602/2022 ordering the cancellation of the Spanish trademark No. 3091225 “PARIS 2024” in relation to all the registered services in classes 38 and 41.
The judgment concluded that the minimum requirements for use of the “PARIS 2024” trademark were not met, in particular:
- that the use is not merely symbolic, for the sole purpose of preserving the rights of the trademark; and
- that the use is capable of identifying the commercial origin of the services provided, distinguishing them from other competitors in the market.
Regarding the evidence submitted, the Court concluded:
- that the defendants themselves acknowledged the lack of use of the trademark;
- that the few uses made of the trademark did not serve to identify either the commercial origin nor the specific services;
- that the volume of trade revealed was insignificant, the frequency of use miniscule and, in any case, the use referred to a part of the territory insufficient to preserve or create market share;
- moreover, the invoices provided did not appear to be regular in form and content. This was alleged by the claimant, in contrast to the defendants’ inaction, who did not provide further evidence to confirm their authenticity as required.
Finally, the judgment also acknowledges the IOC’s capacity to bring a cancellation action, insofar as it has a direct interest in the peaceful celebration of the Olympic Games and in the protection of several trademarks, which could potentially be affected if the trademark had remained registered.
This judgment is yet another success for the International Olympic Committee in its fight against those applicants who attempt to register trademarks similar to the Olympic signs seeking to take advantage of the image and reputation of the Games, in lieu of making proper use of the trademark registration.