For more than 13 years Mosi Alvand's pizza place on Denman Street has proudly displayed the Olympic symbols on its restaurant sign.
But Mr. Alvand was in shock yesterday as he tried to digest a letter from the Vancouver Organizing Committee that is cracking down on copyright infringements as it gears up for the 2010 Winter Games. The committee, which is trying to sell sponsorship agreements to help pay for the Games, has ordered Mr. Alvand to take down his Olympia Pizza sign.
Other businesses in British Columbia that use the Olympic name are bracing for similar letters, although few have received them yet.
"Take down the sign. Change the flyers. Change the napkins. I don't know what I'm going to do," said Mr. Alvand, who uses the symbols of the Olympic rings and flame to promote his business.
"They want me to change the name. But people, they want Olympia pizza, they don't want something else," he said.
Mr. Alvand said customers have been calling him and telling him to fight, but he's not sure.
"At first I was so shocked I didn't know what to think. I'm still confused. I don't know what I'm going to do. Get legal advice, I guess."
A representative for the Vancouver Organizing Committee wasn't immediately available to comment, but official Sam Corea has said only official sponsors are allowed to use the Olympic name and symbols.
"It's one of the only things that we have to sell to our prospective sponsors for the Games, and so we have to show and demonstrate that the brand is free from others using it," Mr. Corea said on CBC Radio.
That has left other businesses in Vancouver fretting they might be next. "We haven't heard anything yet," said Gary Allen, vice-president of sales and marketing for Olympic Dairy Products Ltd. "But I can tell you what. Too bad. We aren't changing our name."
Mr. Allen, whose company markets yogurt and sour cream throughout Western Canada, said the Olympic name has been part of the company's brand for 25 years.
Kathy Reimer, who with her husband runs Olympic Flame Appliance Service in Surrey, was similarly defiant.
"We've been in business for 30 years with a version of that -- and we're not changing our name," she said.
Mark Gaudet, at the Olympic Athletic Club in Vancouver, said he didn't think his gym, which has been in business for 27 years, would get a letter.
"I think we're okay," he said. "We don't have any marketing that uses the Olympic flame or the rings, and I think that's what the problem is. I don't think they can stop you from just using the name."