In San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic Committee, the United States Supreme Court held that the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) could enforce its statutory rights in the mark OLYMPIC without proving likelihood of customer confusion. Because this holding extended the USOC's trademark rights beyond those engendered by the Lanham Act, the Court was compelled to subject those rights to constitutional scrutiny. The Court's holding prevented San Francisco Arts & Athletics, Inc. (SFAA) from using the word OLYMPIC to promote the "Gay Olympic Games."
The SFAA decision will probably affect future analyses of trademark rights and constitutional issues. The Supreme Court not only construed the Amateur Sports Act in such a way that the USOC need not show confusion as to SFAA's use, but also held that the USOC's enforcement of its trademark right against SFAA did not violate the first amendment.
Finally, since the court did not consider the USOC to be a government entity, it held that enforcing USOC's OLYMPIC mark rights did not violate the fifth amendment.
Hauff, Charles F. Jr.
"San Francisco Art & Athletics, Inc. v. United States Olympic Committee: USOC May Enforce Its Rights in Olympic Without Proof of Confusion,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 22
, Article 6.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol22/iss1/6