Don't Get Caught Going For The Gold

THEODOROS VATZAKAS, WHO IS a Greek native, has owned the 88-seat Olympic Restaurant and Pizza in Norcross, Ga., for 10 years. But now, the U.S. Olympic Committee's lawyers complain he is violating the organization's trademark. So Vatzakas is grudgingly changing the name to Olympia Restaurant and Pizza.

With the 1996 Summer Olympics coming in Atlanta, the USOC has been zealous in fighting what it sees as infringement, sending hundreds of cease-and-desist letters. In Savannah, Ga., Nick Pappas lost a suit and had to change his four-year-old Olympic Cafe to the Olympia Cafe. In New York, Spiros Nakos settled with the USOC and got a better deal: He can keep the name Olympic Restaurant (established 1980), but must remove the five rings from his facade. There are a few exceptions to the USOC's hard line. It lets the Special Olympics use the name.

The committee has the rights to more than just the O-word. Also on the proprietary list are such monikers as the "Summer Games," as well as familiar phrases: "Let the games begin" and "Go for the gold."

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.