If you want to show your support for Team USA in the Olympics on your business social media pages, watch those hashtags. They may be trademarked.
Yes, you can trademark a hashtag and recently the US Olympic Committee sent letters around warning companies not to use #Rio2016 or #TeamUSA, which it owns among other hashtags and phrases, including “Go for the Gold.” ESPN published excerpts from the letters. The games start in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, August 5th.
The letters were sent to companies that sponsor individual athletes but aren’t official sponsors of the USOC or the International Olympic Committee. But the language is pretty broad, as paraphrased by ESPN.
Besides the hashtags, “the letter further stipulates that a company whose primary mission is not media-related cannot reference any Olympic results, cannot share or repost anything from the official Olympic account and cannot use any pictures taken at the Olympics.”
Or can they? CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert urged everyone to comment with the hashtag of his imaginary sponsor Tea Musa.