The Olympic games may be coming to a close in Brazil, but Olympic lawyers are still working hard in the U.S.
The U.S. Olympic Committee has come under fire this year for sending warning letters to businesses tweeting with "official" Olympic hashtags like "#TeamUSA" and "#Rio2016." But this isn't the first time the USOC has taken steps to protect its trademarked assets. Legal actions involving the USOC have become as routine as the games themselves.
Part of it is due to the special permission afforded the USOC in defending its intellectual property, and some is an abundance of intellectual property to be defended.
For each Olympic games stretching back decades, the USOC has parked trademarks on the "city year" combination of words ("Rio 2016" and "Sochi 2014," for example). There's also some standards it trademarks for every event: "Road to London," "Road to Rio" and "Road to Pyeongchang," the site of the 2018 Winter Games.
Of course, the USOC can't see into the future. So it seems to hedge its bets on the site of future Olympics and register trademarks for potential sites and carry them long after the games are played somewhere else.
That's why it has trademarks on "Houston 2012" and "Boston 2024," even though the latter pulled its bid.