Can I trademark the name of an event?  Yes, you can.

Annual events, such as fundraisers, art festivals, hackathons, and trade shows, are valuable brands.  The last thing you need is a competing even stealing your name and confusing your customers.  Consider registering a trademark for your event.

How To Trademark An Event Name

While you cannot trademark the activities that occur or the topic of the event, you can trademark the name.

These are the requirements:

  1. The name must be distinctive.  No other events are using this name.
  2. The name must be original or creative.
  3. The event must have a national audience for  a federal trademark.

You cannot trademark a generic, purely descriptive term, such as “Electronics Trade Show” or “Annual Garden Show” since many events use variations on these common terms.

In addition, except in rare circumstances, you cannot trademark a name that is purely geographical.  For instance, Pennsylvania Farm Show, Houston Tech Show, or New York City Art Festival

What Part Of An Event Can I Trademark?

You can trademark:

  • Name of the event
  • Logo
  • Slogan

If your event is a national event (draw attendees from more than one state), it is considered to be in commerce.  You can apply for a federal trademark.

If your event is solely a local or regional event in a single state and you do not draw attendees from other states, you will not qualify for a federal trademark.  Instead, apply for a state trademark.

You cannot trademark:

  • the activities that occur
  • the physical layout of the event
  • the agenda/order the activities occur
  • the concept of the event

For example, you cannot trademark the racecourse layout of a marathon.  You cannot trademark the order of events of a pentathlon.

When Should I Trademark My Event?

Trademarks are valuable assets.  They can have monetary value to your brand.  People associate certain events with certain organizations.

“Relay for Life” symbolized the American Cancer Society.

TED Talks symbolizes short, authoritative, current educational talks.

Ironman symbolizes a particular, competitive, physically-demanding event.

Event trademarks are best suited for those interested in building a brand associated with a specific, recurring event with a national audience.

Think:  an annual fundraising or revenue-generating competition or conference.

In those cases, I recommend you trademark your idea to avoid copycats and brand dilution.

What Can I Do If Someone Uses My Trademark?

As with any trademark, you can defend your trademark in a variety of ways.

The first step is usually a polite cease-and-desist letter.  Often, event organizers are not aware that your event name is trademarked.  They just borrow an idea they found on the internet.

If that does not work and the infringement continues, you can file legal actions to stop the infringement.

I advise vigorously defending your trademark.  If you allow businesses to use your trademark without permission, you risk losing your rights to that trademark.

Lastly, there is an option to license your brand name.  This option can be appropriate if the competing event is similar to yours in theme, activities, customer base, style, and feel.  However, the competitor is willing to follow your brand guidelines.

Concerto Law Will Register Your Trademark

Still need convincing . . . read this post on Why Should I Register Trademark and 4 Benefits of Protecting Your Business’s Intellectual Property.

If you invest the time and energy to put on an annual (or bi-annual) event, take a moment to protect your brand.

Call Concerto Law .  We will give you an honest assessment of whether your event name is eligible for a trademark.  If it is, we made the trademark process simple, quick, and painless for you.

Call us today at (814) 706-1288