Facebook Twitter

Tribune snips off ‘Games’ pin sales

SHARE Tribune snips off ‘Games’ pin sales

A new lapel pin poking fun at the Olympic bid scandal has been pulled off the market at least temporarily because a local newspaper is claiming it owns the phrase, "The Best Games Money Can Buy."

An attorney for The Salt Lake Tribune has asked that a local entrepreneur and the owner of a pair of Olympic memorabilia outlets stop selling the pin because it features that phrase, one of four registered with the state in March 1999 by the newspaper.

The other phrases are "Best Games $$ Can Buy," "2002: The Bucks Started Here," and "2002: The Bucks Stopped Here," according to documents from the attorney, Michael Patrick O'Brien.

The newspaper donates all profits derived from the use of the phrases to the YWCA Battered Womens Shelter, O'Brien said in a letter delivered with the documents on Wednesday to pin maker Jim Friedman and pin seller Mell Bailey.

"The Tribune demands that you account for all profits derived from the sale of pins or other products using the phrases and contribute such profits, either directly or through The Tribune, to the YWCA Battered Womens Shelter," O'Brien said in his letter.

Whatever pins are still for sale should be destroyed or surrendered, the letter states.

O'Brien said Thursday that the Tribune has already produced pins "in the shape of a mini-newspaper" featuring the phrases, but did not know if they were for sale yet.

"The Tribune is not making any money off it. They're doing it for a charity," O'Brien said. "The bottom line is the Tribune is doing this for a good cause."

But the development director of the Salt Lake City YWCA said she was unaware of any such effort by the Tribune. "How bizarre," Carrie Romano said. "I can't imagine that would be going on unless we knew about it."

Friedman, the local entrepreneur who came up with the idea for the pin, was not available for comment Thursday. He told the Deseret News last week he expected to hear from lawyers for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee.

So did Bailey, the owner of the Spirit of the Games kiosk in Fashion Place Mall in Murray and the store of the same name in the ZCMI Mall in downtown Salt Lake City. "When I read the letter and saw it was from the Tribune, it was very strange for me," she said.

Especially since she believes the phrase in question "is derogatory against the Olympics." Bailey said she was also surprised that a newspaper would be competing to sell merchandise. "I guess we just beat them to it," she said.

Bailey said she won't sell any more of the pins until her attorney gives her the go-ahead..

The pins, which went on sale Friday, feature caricatures of five people identified by only their first names, although they're obviously supposed to be former bid leader Tom Welch, former Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini, International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch, former bid Chairman Frank Joklik and Gov. Mike Leavitt.

Their images appear in five coin-like circles arranged like the five Olympic rings, which are owned in this country by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The Salt Lake Organizing Committee, of course, has the right to use the rings and along with the USOC zealously protects that and other Olympic images.

SLOC spokeswoman Caroline Shaw said Thursday the phrases registered by the Tribune are being reviewed.

"It seems like everybody is getting on board to stake their claims in Salt Lake's Games," Shaw said. "As to whether or not this is a trademark infringement, we're studying it. It's under review."

E-mail: lisa@desnews.com