Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Open Letter To The US Olympics Committee

Recently the US Olympics Committee sent a letter to Casey of Ravelry to cease & desist using the word, Ravelympics, as they own the trademark to any part of the word Olympics and can enforce the trademark as it's clear that Ravelry is using their site name + Olympics to create Ravelympics.  To read more about it and read the actual letter, please visit Gawker and read their article: Knitters Outraged After US Olympics Committee Squashes Knitting Olympics - and Disses Knitters.

Dear US Olympics Committee:

While I understand that Ravelry should respect trademark and change the name of the Ravelympics to something else, I do not like the assertion that knitters coming together from all over the world to participate in friendly competition, while promoting the Olympics is somehow disrespectful to athletes. And the notion that knitters from all over the world, coming together for events, could not possibly promote education, culture, respect, world peace, and harmony as the Olympics do is just absurd. Wherever global tragedy strikes, knitters are lending a helping hand with hand knit toys, blankets, hats, mittens, scarves, prayer shawls, and the like. They sell patterns on Ravelry to benefit victims of global atrocities and natural disasters or to bring light to illnesses. They come from such varied backgrounds on Ravelry and use knitting as a way of connecting our cultures. Shame on you, US Olympics Committee, for writing a letter that could've merely stuck to the trademark infringement issue, but chose to insult millions of men and women for whom knitting is not a frivolous distraction, but a way to create, connect with others, and give back.

Outraged Knitter



  1. Well said, my dear, and I couldn't agree more.

  2. Is wonder if anyone else is with me on this: I sort of think of the word "Olympics" the same way I think of the word "marathon." Its such an old word with so much history behind it. It seems hard for a modern organization to legitimately claim a trademark for it. Now, clearly they have, and I realize that. But I think this is one of those cases in which the legitimacy of the trademark is questionable.

  3. This is one of the best, most logical and level-headed responses I've seen. Well done, and THANK YOU for sharing!

  4. Apparently they just haven't gotten around to the state of Washington yet. Washington is clearly in violation of their so called copyright. The capitol of WA is Olympia, there is the Olympic Mountian range AND Mt Olympia as well as the Olympic Peninsula. Then, there are hundreds, if not thousands of businesses that use 'Olympic' as part of their business name.

    I really don't think they have a leg to stand on in attempting to prevent someone from using 'Olympic' or a portion thereof. The Olympic Games predate this country by centuries and are NOT owned by this country, or anyone in it.
    I would sure love to see a legal test case made of their attempting to prevent anyone from using Olympic in any manner they choose.

    1. Actually, they have gotten to us. Several years ago the USOC sued many area businesses...they won in several cases and were able to impose restrictions in others.

  5. Well said and thank you for your quick response. Totally agree!!

  6. Some good reading there involving Washington state's role in this would be:

    Here's an example of the trademark coming up in the US Supreme Court about 10 years ago:

    An example of the trademark being protected by the Canadian Olympic Committee:

  7. Very well said, indeed!

    What I don't understand is how the US Olympic committee were granted the rights of the word 'Olympic' (or part/s thereof!)? Who had the right to grant that in the first place?
    This whole debacle will backfire on them - I wonder how long common sense will take to make them cough up an apology?

    I expect the Greek government could use this as an opportunity to launch a counter-claim against USOC and thereby wipe out it's debt to the Euro Bank!

  8. What was the USOC thinking? Don't they have more important things to do other than insulting an entire third if a nation??? And I find the "trademark" ploy so overused these days.

  9. Very well said and it's so sad that they have nothing better to do than to target knitters. Needless to say, this knitter will not be watching the Olympics - I'm boycotting them!

  10. Very well said. If they had asked nicely my guess is they wouldn't have 2 million people with pointy sticks wishing to gouge their eyes out.

    And really, doesn't the US Olympic Committee have better things to do with their time....and money.

  11. I totally agree! Years ago when the Winter Olympics was held in Lillehammer, Dale of Norway, who designs a sweater for the Norwegian Ski Team every year and publishes the pattern, named their pattern for that year the Lillehammer. I, along with countless others, bought the pattern and some yarn and knitted that sweater during the Olympics. The Today Show even showed women in Norway knitting the sweaters. The Olympic Committee apparently saw no problem with that.

  12. Well said. I think they have their panties in a bunch because they aren't making a dime off any of it. Jerks.

  13. Nicely written letter. Succinct and polite.

  14. The USOC only has rights to the name & images as used by US based entities. As there is no federal funding for US Olympians, the USOC petitioned for and won the rights for the purpose of providing funding for these atheletes. The Ravelry games aren't likely to go away, but they will have to have another name, or purchase a license to use the original name. No US citizen pays taxes to support our atheletes; this support is entirely voluntary thru purchases of USOC licensed products and donations to groups supporting our atheletes. I have no problem with the USOC's decision to defend their rights, although the language does seem to denigrate knitters. I understand there has been an apology issued for that part--I guess they realized they'd "stepped on some toes"!

  15. Agree! As if athletics and knitting were mutually exclusive anyway. I hope from here on out they've learned their lesson and clean up their act.


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