Tokyo Olympics Delayed – Castrén & Snellman Actively Safeguarding Olympic IP

The Olympics are the world’s best-known sports brand. As a result, there are a great many intellectual property rights associated with them, and monitoring these rights is important both for the financing of the games as well as for the companies sponsoring them. Though the Tokyo games have been pushed back to next year, Castrén & Snellman’s sports law team still has their work cut out for them, particularly in relation to marketing law.

‘The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented. At the start of the year, I couldn’t even have imagined that the Olympics would be cancelled this summer. Nevertheless, I think the temptation to engage in ‘ambush’ marketing, i.e. building a prohibited association with the Olympics, will still be strong this summer, so our team is on guard’, says Attorney Hilma-Karoliina Markkanen, a senior associate on our sports law team.

Castrén & Snellman Attorneys has been the Finnish Olympic Committee’s partner and legal advisor since 2013. In May, the Olympic team’s sports law squad gained a new member when Ida Laakkonen, who holds a Master of Laws in International Sports Law, joined the team as a senior trainee. Guided by some of the best lawyers in the field, Ida now drafts legal content relating to sports, such as on the application of Rule 40 to ambush marketing, and other guidelines relating to the firm’s partnership with the Finnish Olympic Committee.

‘What I find particularly interesting about my work is that it combines many different facets of law, marketing and sports. It is great to be a part in supporting the important work that the Finnish Olympic Committee does in society’, Ida says.

Ville Köngäs, who is responsible for the Finnish Olympic Committee’s marketing, sees the supervision of Olympic rights as a part of responsible business.

‘Commercial partners are significant financiers of the Olympic movement. In order for the official partners who sponsor the games and teams to get their money’s worth, the marks and other IP relating to the games and the teams needs to be well taken care of. In recent years, social media marketing in particular has raised many questions’, Ville says.

‘When it comes to resolving and preventing the many situations that can arise in relation to sports law, it is wonderful to have the genuine insight of Castrén & Snellman’s experts at our disposal’, Ville adds.


Castrén & Snellman is an official partner of the Finnish Olympic Committee and a supporter of Olympic Team Finland.