Trademark Law

Why the Rat Olympics Became the Xtreme Rat Challenge

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The U.S. Olympic Committee has pursued 1,000 violations of its trademark since the last Olympics, prompting some awkward-sounding substitutes.

The committee has the exclusive right to use the word under legislation adopted in 1978 and upheld nine years later in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Wall Street Journal reports. The high court ruling found that Olympic isn’t a generic word and barred a San Francisco group from calling its athletic contest the Gay Olympic Games.

The newspaper lists some of the substitutes. They include:

• The Rat Olympics, hosted by the psychology department at Nebraska Wesleyan University, became the Xtreme Rat Challenge.

• The Ferret Olympics, a fundraiser sponsored by a ferret shelter, became the Ferret Agility Trials.

• The Nose Olympics, the proposed name for a game that includes gag glasses with attachments like basketball hoops, became Nose Aerobics.

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