Apple Bends the Rules with Unofficial Olympics Merchandise
While the Olympics selected Samsung as the official mobile phone sponsor of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Apple Inc. has no plans to sit the 2016 games out. Instead, Apple has been using an Apple Store location outside the games to promote its special-edition Apple watch bands, according to Tech2.
The company has been enticing prospective buyers with unofficial Olympics merchandise that does not feature the Olympic rings logo or the word "Olympics," which are reserved for Samsung's use only.
Instead, Apple has produced its Apple watch bands in 14 national team colors, including the U.S. and Canada, because the team colors are fair game. And, it's working: The Brazil-themed band nearly sold out this week.
"While they don't appear to be breaking any rules, they appear to be getting really close to the edge of ambush or guerrilla marketing," said Jeff Benz, a former general counsel at the U.S. Olympic Committee, according to Tech2.
"As long as they do not use the Olympic logo, the Rio 2016 logo or our look, there is no infringement," Sylmara Multini, director of licensing and retail for the Rio 2016 organizing committee, told Tech2.
The rules prevent Apple from displaying the limited-edition bands alongside any Olympics branding, but there are no rules in place preventing the athletes from displaying the bands (as long as it's not during an official event). U.S. sprinter Trayvon Bromell tweeted a picture of himself wearing the U.S.-themed Apple watch band.
Ready for rio ! pic.twitter.com/p8PKJ3o5Fs
— IamTrayvonBromell (@TrayvonBromell) July 21, 2016
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