Beijing: As trade friction between the United States and China deepens over copyright piracy, Beijing is working hard to protect one widely recognized global trademark, the Olympic rings.
China is routinely denounced as the origin of most of the world’s counterfeit goods, and a frustrated Washington decided this week to take it to the World Trade Organization.
The non-profit Olympic Movement is a billion-dollar-a-year business and the risks to the value of the brand from staging the Games in the Chinese capital next year are real.
Already, Olympic knock-off products are available on the Internet and hawkers line commercial streets here selling baseball hats with the Olympic logo and the Beijing dancing-man Games trademark for roughly one dollar.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintains that the Games represent “the most effective international corporate marketing platform in the world, reaching billions of people in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world.”
Olympic insiders admit that China represents a tougher piracy challenge than any other host country, although violators are encountered everywhere.
“The fight to protect IPR (intellectual property rights) is ongoing and absolutely key,” an IOC spokesman who declined to be named told AFP. He added, “In very simple terms, unless we look after IPR, it devalues the brand, Olympic values and Olympic Games.”