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Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol

Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol

Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol adopted at Nairobi on September 26, 1981. Tunisia signed Nairobi Treaty on December 29, 1981; ratified on April 21, 1983; entered into force on May 21, 1983.   

All States party to the Nairobi Treaty are under the obligation to protect the Olympic symbol – five interlaced rings – against use for commercial purposes (in advertisements, on goods, as a mark, etc.) without the authorization of the International Olympic Committee.                  

An important effect of the Treaty is that, if the International Olympic Committee grants authorization to use the Olympic symbol in a State party to the Treaty, the National Olympic Committee of that State is entitled to a part in any revenue the International Olympic Committee obtains for granting the said authorization.

The Treaty does not provide for the institution of a Union, governing body or budget. The Treaty is open to any State member of WIPO, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883), the United Nations or any of the specialized agencies brought into relationship with the United Nations. Instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

Any State party to Nairobi Treaty shall be obliged, subject to Articles 2 and 3, to refuse or to invalidate the registration as a mark and to prohibit by appropriate measures the use, as a mark or other sign, for commercial purposes, of any sign consisting of or containing the Olympic symbol, as defined in the Charter of the International Olympic Committee, except with the authorization of the International Olympic Committee. The said definition and the graphic representation of the said symbol are reproduced in the Annex.

No State party to this Treaty shall be obliged to prohibit the use of the Olympic symbol where that symbol is used in the mass media for the purposes of information on the Olympic movement or its activities.

According to Article 3 of Nairobi Treaty, the obligation provided for in Article 1 may be considered as suspended by any State party to this Treaty during any period during which there is no agreement in force between the International Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committee of the said State concerning the conditions under which the International Olympic Committee will grant authorizations for the use of the Olympic symbol in that State and concerning the part of the said National Olympic Committee in any revenue that the International Olympic Committee obtains for granting the said authorizations. For more information on this treaty please visit WIPO’s website.

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