A carpet-cleaning company in Minnesota with some money to blow on lawyers is suing the U.S. Olympic Committee over its right to send out witty Olympics-related tweets to its 234 followers.
Zerorez of Minnesota will file suit in U.S. District Court today, according to Gizmodo. In a release, the company’s lawyer Aaron Hall said, “Zerorez, like millions of small businesses across our nation, has been silenced by the actions of the U.S. Olympic Committee.” He went on to accuse USOC of “overreaching” and “trademark bullying” for its refusal to allow businesses like Zerorez to tweet Olympics-related words and hashtags while the Games are going on it Rio.
USOC is, of course, happy for its deep-pocketed corporate sponsors to take advantage of its trademarks, which include “Olympic,” “Olympian” “Go for Gold” and the hashtags #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA. But if a small business that didn’t pay for the right tries to steal some of that Olympic sheen, USOC will come after it with all of its litigious might.
But scaring companies with cease-and-desist letters and having courts uphold the USOC’s claims to even the results of Olympic competitions are two different things. Thanks to a small carpet cleaner in Minnesota, we may soon find out if USOC has gone too far.