Belgian designer drops Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo legal case

Olivier Debie, who claimed the Olympics logo was similar to an identity he designed for a Belgian theatre, has dropped his case citing legal costs.

Above: A Tweet from Debie comparing the original Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo with his Theatre de Liege identity

Belgian designer Olivier Debie, who claimed that one of his designs had been plagiarised for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo, has dropped his legal case against the International Olympic Committee.

Debie has withdrawn his case citing legal costs. He had claimed that the original Tokyo 2020 Olympics logo, designed by Kenjiro Sano, was too similar to an identity he had created for the Theatre de Liege in 2011.

Both Sano and the Tokyo Olympics organising committee denied that their logo was a copy, but in September 2015 the Olympics organisers decided to scrap it.

“A fresh start”

Toshio Muto, director general of the Tokyo organising committee, said at the time: “The decision to make a fresh start in creating a new logo seems to be the most appropriate.”

He added: “We have an understanding that the design shows enough evidence of being different [to other designs] and, as Mr Sano suggested, the design is recognised as being an original by Mr Sano and the design committee has agreed with this assessment.

“However at the same time, when the issue has been expanded upon this far without gaining an understanding from the general public, we find this to be a problem.”

Public competition

The Olympics organisers subsequently launched a public competition to find a replacement logo. They have shortlisted four designs, with the winner set to be revealed in Spring.

Debie says he has now withdrawn his legal case against the IOC, citing legal costs.

He says: “Winning the trial would hardly cover the legal costs, and losing might cost me dearly,” adding: “I prefer to spend my time and energy on new projects.”

Discover more:

• From 15,000 to four – Tokyo 2020 Olympics shortlists for new logo

• Tokyo Olympics scraps logo in plagiarism row

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