As we previously reported, the official logos for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled late last month, but not everyone was thrilled with the design. At the time the logo was revealed, critics took to social media to express how, in their view, the emblem’s red dot and “T” was an effort by Tokyo to personalize the 2020 Olympics rather than celebrate the games as an international showcase.
Taking this one step further, however, is the claim that Japanese artist Kenjiro Sano actually plagiarized the logo’s concept. Belgian designer, Olivier Debie, came forward last week, threatening to take the International Olympic Committee to court over the 2020 logo looking too much like the emblem he had made for a theater in the eastern Belgian city of Liege. Debie is claiming the logo represents copyright infringement, but the IOC and Tokyo Games organizers have dismissed the claims, saying that the theater’s emblem was not trademarked.
Debie reportedly sent a letter to both organizations urging them to stop using the Tokyo 2020 logo, to which the IOC declined to refrain usage. According to lawyers commissioned by the IOC to fight Debie’s €50,000 (£36,000/$55,000) lawsuit, Tokyo 2020 organizers dismiss the claims and insists they will continue to utilize the logo as it stands today. “Our standpoint that there is no problem concerning the emblem at all has not changed,” said a Tokyo 2020 spokesperson.
What is ironic is that Sano actually recently admitted to plagiarizing another set of logos he was commissioned to create for Japanese beverage firm, Suntory. Of that particular situation, Sano said he “failed to properly supervise his staff and conceded that they had ‘copied’ the ideas of others in creating tote bags for Suntory’s non-alcoholic beer campaign.” Of this separate ordeal, Sano said, “I feel very sorry for causing great trouble to the people concerned.”