Tokyo 2020 logo in plagiarism row

Aug 5, 2015 Despite taking a major detour with its centerpiece Olympic stadium, the local organizing council for the Tokyo2020 Olympics and Paralympic game recently unveiled the official logo of the tournament. This too has led to a different set of challenges as a Belgian-based designer, Oliver Debie, noticed similarities between 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games emblem and the logo he designed for Theatre de Liege.

The incidence, which is receiving huge social media attention, is the latest challenge to hit the Japanese Olympic Committee which had hitherto been renowned for their effectiveness and efficiency.

“When I arrived at the office, I had a number of Facebook messages telling me that my logo had been plagiarized so I looked into it. Indeed, it’s astonishing to notice the resemblance with the (Liege theatre logo) outline. The typography is almost identical. After seeing this, I have a hard time imagining that the graphic designers who worked on it may have never seen my logo,”

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games emblem which was produced by Japanese art director, Kenjiro Sano has a black base with a tan line coming off the top left side, resembling the letter T. Also there is a grey line at the bottom right side of the base, resembling the capital letter L and has a striking resemblance to the Theatre de Liege logo which has been in use since 2013.

Debie went on to share why he thinks the “L and T logo is more befitting for a theatre than for a tournament.

“With regards to the pictogram and emblem, we notice that my logo represents ‘T’ for theatre and ‘L’ for Liege. We find the same elements in the Tokyo logo: this ‘T’ and this ‘L.’ This is quite surprising, especially since Tokyo’s logo is supposed to represent three ‘T’ standing for ‘Tokyo Team Tomorrow”

In response to this, the Olympics organizing committee have also issued a statement saying:

“Prior to the selection of this design, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee conducted long, extensive and international verifications through a transparent process”

Debie, whose design was created in early 2012 and adopted as an official emblem in June 2013, went on to say that the theatre owners had contacted him over the possibility of a lawsuit.

He said he consulted with theatre owner about the possibility of starting a lawsuit.

“The theatre’s director contacted me and suggested that we carry out an lawsuit together. We contacted lawyers specialized in intellectual property. This is study the matter. I think they will send a mail to the Olympic Commitee and see how they respond to it. Depending on that, we decide what to do in the coming days,”

Debie did go on to say that he would prefer the withdrawal of the logo by the Olympics committee over any compensation.

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