USOC social media speech ban undermines spirit of the Olympics, says Minneapolis attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, August 5, 2016
Minneapolis — JUX Law Firm today announced it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) in U.S. District Court on behalf of Zerorez of Minnesota, a carpet cleaning business.
In the wake of the USOC warning small businesses against discussing the Olympics on social media, the lawsuit asks the court to provide clarity to businesses that have been silenced out of fear of the USOC’s legal retaliation. (See news article here on the USOC letter).
The USOC claims businesses that are not official Olympic sponsors cannot post on social media the following trademarked terms: “Olympic,” “Olympian,” “Team USA,” “Future Olympian,” “Let The Games Begin,” “Rio 2016,” and “Road to Rio.”
“Zerorez, like millions of small businesses across our nation, has been silenced by the actions of the U.S. Olympic Committee,” said Aaron Hall, an attorney at JUX Law Firm representing Zerorez of Minnesota. “The USOC’s attempt to silence and censor patriotic businesses is having a chilling effect on the Olympic spirit and patriotism at a time when we need more American spirit, not less.”
Hall added, “It is ridiculous to suggest small businesses cannot reference the results of an event, congratulate hometown athletes, or use Olympic terms in harmless discussions. This is overreaching. This is trademark bullying. I doubt Congress intended to chill the free speech of patriotic businesses sharing in the Olympic spirit.
“The U.S. Olympic Committee should acknowledge businesses can reference Olympic events without violating Olympic trademark rights. Silencing millions of small businesses in the United States from discussing the Olympics undermines the spirit of the Olympics,” concluded Hall. For more information, visit http://jux.law/usoc/.
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