Tokyo Olympic logo controversy
The Olympic Committee in Japan has decided to change the logo for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following an allegation of copyright infringement.
The allegation brought forward by Belgian designer, Olivier Debie, concerns his earlier logo for the Théâtre Liège. The earlier logo was not protected by a trade mark registration and so the Belgian designer had no registered rights per se.
Whilst there are some similarities between the logos there are also significant differences. The Olympic logo was created by Kenjiro Sano, a Japanese graphic designer, who claims never to have seen the earlier logo by Olivier Debie.
For copyright infringement to have occurred the logo must have been actively copied rather than independently created. The logos are shown below:
Rather than enter into a legal dispute, and without any admission of liability, it appears that the Olympic Committee has simply withdrawn the logo. It will be interesting to see whether the Committee will decide to reuse the other logo originally developed during the Olympic candidate city bid or whether a new logo will be designed – only time will tell.