Legal action has been launched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) against Dutch-based Tempting Brands following an attempt from the company to trademark the name of Modern Olympic Games founder Pierre de Coubertin.
In a statement, the IOC revealed it was suing Tempting Brands, who are trying to register the Coubertin mark for commercial reasons in 60 countries.
The IOC, who secured work mark protection for the Coubertin name in 2007, have accused the Dutch entity of "commercial exploitation".
The organisation added it was "concerned" by the attempt from the company and claimed the name of the founder of the IOC "may be tarnished by the possible sale of products" under the Coubertin mark.
According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Tempting Brands, based near Utrecht but which has offices in Switzerland and Romania, are arguing that they are entitled to register the trademark under European Union rules as the IOC have not used it for five years.
AFP also reported that Dutch lawyer Tjeerd Overdijk has warned a comfortable win in the courts for the IOC is unlikely in a case which could cost millions of dollars.
Coubertin founded the IOC in 1894 before the first Olympic Games were held two years later in Athens.
"Pierre de Coubertin is known worldwide as the founder of the IOC and of the Modern Olympic Games and his name refers to the Olympic Games and to universal Olympic values," the IOC statement read.
"Any commercial exploitation could affect the name Pierre de Coubertin and the values surrounding his image, as protected by the IOC as the guardian of his legacy.
"The name of the IOC’s Founder may be tarnished by the possible sale of products under a Pierre de Coubertin mark and be wrongly associated with a business venture of a company that is totally unrelated to the Olympic Movement."
Jacques de Navacelle de Coubertin, a descendent of the Olympic founder, told AFP that the family would have no involvement in the case and was leaving it up to the IOC to resolve the issue.
He added, however, that they would "intervene to defend" the reputation of the family's name should they feel it was being used without their consent.
Tempting Brands boast a portfolio which includes the iconic US Route 66 and the rights to the trademark for Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France before the French Revolution, who was beheaded at the age of 38.
A statue of Coubertin, who died in September 1937, can be seen outside the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.