Call it extreme trademark protection.

For decades, McDonald's waged a legal battle against a family restaurant in Illinois called McDonald's Family Restaurant (which was opened by a man named Ronald McDonald in 1956). Ralph Lauren sued Polo magazine, which covers the actual sport, just to protect his high-end casual line of clothing.

Now, the U.S. Olympics Committee is targeting a knitting-based group that hosts a knitting olympics, reports Gawker. The committee, which helps protect the Olympics trademark, recent sent a cease-and-desist letter to Ravelry, a knitting social network that puts on a competition called "Ravelympics" featuring events such as an "afghan marathon" and "scarf hockey" which knitters perform while watching the actual Olympics on TV.

knitting olympics 2012
Flickr photo by Steve A Johnson

According to the letter:

We believe using the name "Ravelympics" for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

The committee has successfully pursued legal action against other "olympics", including the "Gay Olympics" in 1982.

But the USOC may end up regretting their assault - after all, these knitters are armed with needles and now they're angry. A group calling itself the Crochet Liberation Front is bombarding the committee with its own outraged protest letter:

You have inferred that we are disrespecting the athletes and fail to recognize their hard work, well you sir, fail to understand how you have insulted more than 17.4 million US households that crochet, not to mention the millions of knitters, hand spinners, weavers and other fiber artists that are striving to keep dying arts alive in their communities.
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    Husband and wife, Tori and Dean, intently work on a craft project poolside. Photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">EdiTORIal/ </a>

  • Jennifer Love Hewitt

    JLH looks pretty in pink as she navigates the aisles at a Michael's Craft Store. Photo courtesy of <a href="" target="_hplink"> </a>

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  • Monet Mazur

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  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

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