Tokyo 2020 has given its backing to their Olympic and Paralympic Games emblem design in the wake of plagiarism allegations.
Earlier this month, emblem designer Kenjiro Sano issued an apology after admitting his staff stole designs from a promotional campaign for Japanese beverage firm Suntory.
It came after Belgian designer Olivier Debie had taken the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to court over the use of the Tokyo 2020 logo, claiming it amounts to copyright infringement due to its resemblance to a logo he designed for Liege Theatre.
Kazumasa Nagai, a representative of the Selection Committee for the Tokyo 2020 emblem, has claimed, however, the draft emblem was modified to avoid it resembling trademarked designs.
"It appeared that there were registered trademarks that resembled the draft design," Nagai told Japanese newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun.
"So, [Kenjiro] Sano’s design went through slight modifications several times at the request of the Organising Committee, including moving some of its parts within a scope which does not undermine the original image."
Nagai, who came up with the Sapporo 1972 Winter Olympics logo, added: "The initial draft of the emblem looked nothing like the Belgian theatre logo, and the emblem is not plagiarism."
In response to criticism, the Selection Committee has released draft versions of the emblem and outlined the process through which it was chosen by the eight-member panel.
Sano’s design was one of three shortlisted from 104 submissions at a meeting in November of last year.
Having been chosen on the back of further discussions, it is claimed the design underwent worldwide trademark checks during which it became apparent to the Selection Committee that it could be criticised for similarities to logos created by others.
Following a request to modify his work, Sano is said to have revised his design twice before settling on the current emblem.
The Selection Committee said it has confirmed that the Liege Theatre logo was not registered as a trademark.
A lawsuit has been filed by the theatre and Debie seeking a court order for €50,000 (£36,000/$56,000) to be paid by the IOC and other organisations each time the emblem is used.
August 2015: Tokyo 2020 logo designer apologises amid plagiarism allegations
July 2015: Tokyo 2020 unveil Olympic and Paralympic Games emblems