VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics denied on Thursday they were trying to lay claim to Canada’s national anthem, “O Canada”, by trademarking part of it for the Games’ official slogan.
Trademarking the English phrase “with glowing hearts” and French phrase “des plus brilliants exploits” was to stop them being used improperly by commercial groups not associated with the Games, the Vancouver Organizing Committee said.
VANOC unveiled the “With glowing hearts/Des plus brilliants exploits” slogan at a ceremony at its headquarters, attended by several Canadian Olympic athletes.
The committee said it has no plans to restrict public use of the phrases -- such as signing the anthem -- but was worried they could be use to sell fake tickets or merchandise by tricking people into thinking they were approved by Games organizers.
“We have to protect against things like that by ensuring people don’t make that association (with the Olympics). This gives us the opportunity to take action,” said David Cobb, VANOC’s executive vice-president.
Organizers were criticized last year for getting Canadian legislators to give VANOC special English and French trademark rights to a range of phrases and words, including “Canada’s Games”, “2010”, “Winter” and “Gold.”
The trademarks were needed to protect sponsors, who are a major source of revenue for the Games, organizers argued.
The use of both English and French reflects Canada’s status as an bilingual country, and VANOC said it wanted to avoid using a single phrase and simply translating it into both official languages.
The English translation of the French phrase is “most brilliant exploits.”
“We weren’t just looking for words, we were looking for words that reflect a certain spirit or value,” VANOC Chief Executive John Furlong said.
The English phrase is from the anthem line: “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the true north strong and free.”
The slogan has been approved by the International Olympic Committee, a VANOC official said.
Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson