Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Olympic Cellars vs U.S. Olympic Committee

Dear Olympic Cellars Winery Supporters,

I got a surprise letter in September from the U.S. Olympic Committee stating I was in violation of the 1998 Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The Act authorizes the USOC to file a civil action against the unauthorized commercial use of the word OLYMPIC.

There is a specific geographic exception in the Act that allows companies to use OLYMPIC so long as their business is local in nature and limited to the Olympic Peninsula area of Washington State. The geographic limitation was added in 1998 and obviously impacts the growth of small businesses.

The winery name was changed to Olympic Cellars in 1992. There are many businesses with Olympic in their name including our hospital. I purchased the winery in 1999.

The main issue is the use of our website to sell wine to customers that find us on the Internet. An interesting fact is that the trademark attorney for the USOC granted Olympic Cellars the use of our URL in 1999… because he stated no one would be mislead or be confused, i.e. no rational person would connect Olympic Cellars Winery and the Olympic Games.

It is also worth noting that the reach and impact of the Internet was well known in 1999.

For those of you that visit our site, we have gone ahead and added disclaimers to all of our website pages stating that we have no connection or affiliation to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Team or Olympic Movement.

I hope that this litigation can be brought to a resolution without changing our name and losing our business identity and heritage.

Thank you for your support. Please email me if you have any contacts that might help our case.
www.olympiccellars.com (and dang proud of it!)

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