Programs and Events
Trademarks Enforcement in the Nonprofit World

Hosts will discuss the following issues and allow the conversation to develop in line with the audience's interest.

1. Discuss the multiple roles of trademarks within an organization.

2. How well does the organization know the brands in its portfolio?

  • Audit
  • Names can equal brands

3. Which of those brand merit protection and how do we define the value?

  • Legal/Monetary/Emotional
  • Market penetration
  • Internal hierarchy
  • Length of use
  • Registration status
  • Public selection – Nicknames  “The  Y!”
  • What attracts corporate partners? Is that important?

4. How do trademarks help define the relationship with local chapters?

  • What are the trademarks that local chapters are using?
  • Are local chapters independent or centrally controlled?
  • Are your local chapters competitors?

5. The nonprofit trademark as a public good.

  • Once you name yourself, why must you commit to that name?
  • How do you keep the use of your trademarks reigned in while still serving the public interest?
  • Academic Tests
    • Certification Marks
    • BBB
    • Realtor  
  • Cause vs. Brand—when does a cause get confused with a brand? For example, should a colored ribbon or bracelet represent a cause or brand and should it be a trademark?
    • Usually not selling widgets.
    • Services are products from a trademark perspective but maybe not from public perspective, i.e., funding medical research, feeding the poor, providing legal assistance, etc.
    • How do you enforce with typically no or low war chest?
    • How does the relationship of an organization with state attorneys general change the trademark enforcement landscape? 

6. As the organization matures and the mission evolves, how do you balance the name with the mission to allow both to grow?          

7. How to communicate the value of the trademark to nonprofit clients?

  • Who are the internal clients?
    • Content creators
    • Marketing
    • Accounting/Finance
    • Membership
    • Volunteers
  • Who are the external clients?
    • Donors
    • Sponsors
    • Regulators
    • Media
    • Volunteers
    • Similarly focused organizations

8. How is nonprofit trademark enforcement different from for-profit enforcement?

  • Need to enforce against friends?  (Pure heart; empty head)
  • Why send a kinder, gentler letter?  (Jack Daniels)
  • Public perception
  • Culture of sharing

9. After our great discussion, what do we do next?

  • Which issues to follow up?
  • Use INTA resources/INTA has a nonprofit membership category.
  • Use INTA for mentors.