SALT LAKE CITY (Jan. 11, 2002)—The U.S. Olympic Committee is upset over a Discount Tire Co. Inc. billboard that it says uses Olympic symbols without permission.
In a lawsuit filed Jan. 7 in Salt Lake City federal court, the USOC claims Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Discount Tire knowingly violated the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which gives the committee exclusive control of how Olympic symbols and terminology are used in advertising.
At issue are two billboards Discount Tire put up on Interstate 15 in Salt Lake City, home of the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics. The billboards depicted interlocking tires in the manner of the famous interlocking Olympic rings, and greeted visitors in several languages.
The billboards “inaccurately suggest a commercial affiliation with the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement,” according to a USOC press release.
According to the suit, the USOC discovered the billboards Dec. 12, and immediately contacted Discount Tire demanding their removal. The tire dealer promised to remove them by Jan. 4, but one still stood on Jan. 7. The committee therefore went ahead with the suit.
There was no word from the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based USOC on whether it had spoken with Discount Tire since the suit was filed, or whether a court hearing had been scheduled. Officials of Discount Tire declined comment.