2012 Olympics items VeROed from eBay UK

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If you were hoping to make a couple of quid on eBay selling souvenirs for the London 2012 Olympics, think again. Donna from told us that a red bus-shaped keyring marked “2012” was pulled from eBay as a trademark violation. there are numerous trademarks and copyrights connected with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the Olympic five rings symbol, the London 2012 logo, the words “London 2012” themselves – and as Donna found out, just “2012” by itself.

It seems inevitable that as we get closer to 2012, unauthorised merchandise will be produced and some of it will be offered for sale to eBay sellers. Don’t waste your hard-earned on buying it, because you’re not going to be able to sell it on eBay (and you shouldn’t be selling it anywhere else either).

Here’s some more advice on 2012 branding for businesses.

19 Responses

  1. wont matter according to the doom merchants
    ebays going down the slot and paypals bankrupting every business

    and everyone will be so hungry and malnourished by then, no one will have the energy for sport

  2. I don’t think you can trademark the term “2012”. You could trademark an associated font used together with those numbers. Otherwise, every diary sold that year would be in breach?!?

  3. Pete: the London Olympics committee certainly think you can:


    The following are some of the current items that make up the Games’ Marks:

    * The Olympic symbol
    * The Paralympic symbol
    * The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic emblems
    * The words ‘London 2012’ and ‘2012’

    And from the pdf

    All of the following names, words, marks, logos and designs relating to London 201212 and/or the Olympic and Paralympic Movements (collectively known as the Protected Games’ Marks) are legally protected marks owned by or licensed to LOCOG

    The words: London 2012 • 2012 • LOCOG • Javelin • Team GB • Games for a Connected World

    If you want to dig further, the relevent act is the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006.

  4. The Listed Expressions are; – any two of the words in list A below
    any word in list A with one or more of the words in list B below

    Two Thousand and Twelve


    What one wonders is the season that traditionally falls between spring and autumn going to be called in 2012?

  5. They wouldn’t stand a hope in court, you can’t trademark a date or common noun. They can only be trademarked if they are presented with other criteria such as a special font or image.

  6. In the link in #8, put 2012 into one of the fields. It shows that the term 2012 has been refused as a trademark.

  7. That’s interesting thanks Pete, I will get onto support and see what they make of it 🙂
    I don’t hold out much hope though

  8. You’re right, eBay won’t/can’t check claims of Vero holders. But, as stated on the IPO website the term 2012 on it’s own is not trademarked, neither is Summer etc.

    Your listings will still get pulled because the Vero system is flawed, eBay know it but they have to be seen to provide some protection for IP owners.

  9. Pete: The point is that expressions that normally could not be protected by a trade mark or copyright are specially protected by the 2006 Act.

  10. I can assure you that a term such as 2012 on it’s own will never be granted TM status.

    “2012 London” could be because it is a phrase, however due to it’s reference to a geographical location, it would also need an associated image.

    Words like summer, winter etc are the same.

    There are other ways that the Olympic commission can protect “2012”, under the law of “passing off” for example. They couldn’t stop me selling a mobile phone for example with the model number 2012.

  11. Reading further it does give examples of the listed words used in ways not suggestive of the Olympics, which are acceptable. It looks like any other events taking place in London during 2012 will have to tread very carefully.

  12. Well, little old me with a £1.50 keyring thinks it’s not worth fighting for.
    I will contact my suppliers and let them know.
    It could’ve been worse I could have had 100’s to sell.
    What really annoys me is I was born and bred a Londoner and I am not allowed to promote the city I was once so proud of.

    I have contacted Demys Limited and apologised as I had no idea.

    I now have my account showing as failing because I dared list a famous London Icon!

    I know damn well if I kick up a stink I risk my sellers account.
    It’s just not worth it 🙁

    I shall keep the keyrings I have left as a souvenir of yet another unintentional “crime” LOL 😀

  13. Games

    So does this mean no more gold®, silver®, and bronze® powersellers? Not that eBay isn’t already headed that direction anyway.

    Looks like we’ll all have to skip displaying copyrights in 3 years. TameBay will have to say “Copyright © 2006 – present Chris Dawson & Sue Bailey” instead.

    Can’t list the “XBox 720 with games®” or it will get VeRO’d for mentioning “games®.”

    Can’t sell on eBay.co.uk if you are in London®. eBay requires that you display your address but you aren’t allowed to say “London®”.

    And then you have some ancient calendar predicting the end of the world.

  14. In 2005 Royal Mail issued stamps titled:

    London 2012 Host City

    Surely the 2006 act cannot apply retrospectively?


  15. eBay .co.uk has the right category viz.

    Are they in violation?

    Sports Memorabilia > Olympic Memorabilia > London 2012




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