Trademark Expo - Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sponsor a National Trademark Expo?
The USPTO sponsors the National Trademark Expo to illustrate the value of brand names and other marks in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. The Trademark Expo educates the public about the important role trademarks and other marks play in our society and the global marketplace.
When is the Trademark Expo? What are the hours of operation?
Please check back for information about the dates, location, and hours of operation of the next Expo, which we will add when available.
Who may attend the Trademark Expo? Do I have to pay?
The event is open to the public. Admission is free and no tickets are required for entrance.
Is parking available?
Yes, but be aware that on-street parking is limited and posted “no parking” times are enforced.
What types of displays and activities are featured at the Trademark Expo?
The Expo includes exhibitor booths, educational seminars, costumed characters, inflatables, children’s activities, themed indoor and outdoor displays, and much more. Past exhibits and displays have featured exhibits about counterfeiting activities, non-traditional marks (sound, color, configurations, etc.), certification marks, marks commonly misused as generic terms, the breadth of different types of marks used by one source, the evolution of a mark over time, people behind the names of marks, 100 year old marks, the value of federal registration, and interesting stories about how certain marks were created.
Who may exhibit? By when should those interested in exhibiting apply?
Any owner of a registered United States trademark, service mark, certification mark, or collective mark may apply to exhibit. We encourage owners of widely-recognized marks to apply. We also encourage exhibits that showcase the value of federal registration, exhibits that engage the public’s interest, and exhibits that help ensure that the Expo features a wide variety of different types of marks. We have not yet set a date by which those interested in applying as an exhibitor at the 2014 Expo should apply. Please check back for further updates.
How are applicants evaluated?
Applications to exhibit are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Brand recognition among consumers;
- Ability to engage the public’s interest in trademarks;
- Educational value of the proposed exhibit to enhance public understanding of the value of trademarks and other marks; and
- Category diversity, in particular whether an applicant’s participation helps ensure that the Expo will feature a variety of different types of marks from different sources.
When will I know if my proposal for an exhibit is accepted?
We have not yet set the date by which exhibitors will be notified whether their proposed exhibit has been accepted. Please check back for further updates.
What types of exhibit themes are appropriate for the Trademark Expo?
We seek exhibit themes that help educate the public about trademarks and other marks. Examples of themes a registered mark owner might wish to feature in an exhibit include, but certainly are not limited to, exhibits featuring:
- Multiple different types of marks (e.g., trade dress, design mark, word mark, and/or slogan) all originating from one source. Purpose: to showcase the breadth of marks used by one source and to educate consumers on the variety of types of marks used in the marketplace.
- Non-traditional marks (e.g., color, sound, scent). Purpose: to engage the public’s interest by showcasing an interesting, unusual mark and to educate the public on the variety of types of trademarks used in the marketplace.
- Certification marks. Purpose: to educate the public on the use of certification marks to certify a particular feature of goods/services (e.g., that goods/services come from a particular geographic location).
- Interesting stories about a mark’s creation and/or brand development. Purpose: to engage the public’s interest in branding and to educate the public about considerations factored into mark selection and brand development.
- The evolution of a mark over time. Purpose: to showcase the historical transformation of a mark and highlight how a mark owner may modernize a mark while continuing brand recognition over time.
- Very old marks (e.g., marks more than 100 years old). Purpose: to highlight the longevity of certain marks and educate the public about maintaining valuable consumer brand recognition over time.
- Authentic and counterfeit goods side by side. Purpose: to educate the public about the importance of protecting brand names and other marks as symbols of quality in our global market.
- Marks commonly misused as generic terms. Purpose: to educate the public about how trademarks differ from the common commercial or generic names of goods and services and highlight the steps mark owners take to protect their marks.
If I do not have an exhibit for a booth, may I participate in the Trademark Expo in another way?
Yes. You may participate by providing costumed characters, inflatable figures (all sizes welcome), multimedia content, materials for themed displays (e.g., non-traditional marks, evolution of marks, marks more than 100 years old, etc.), and educational materials about marks or intellectual property generally. Other forms of participation are welcome as well.
What accommodations will be provided for exhibitors? Will exhibitors have access to audio-visual equipment and electrical outlets?
Floor space for booths will be provided. Electrical connections will be available. At the exhibitor’s request, 10′ x 10′ piped and draped exhibitor booths with carpet and padding, a 2′ x 8′ draped table, and two chairs will also be provided. As a general rule, exhibitors are responsible for equipment and setup costs incurred beyond the cost of the booth, tables, and chairs provided and the general building facilities.
If I am selected to participate in the Trademark Expo, may I include my participation in written materials?
Yes, but you may not state or imply that your selection constitutes endorsement of your trademarks, products, services, company, and/or organization by the USPTO, the U.S. Government, or any other federal agency.
If I am selected as an exhibitor, will I have the opportunity to meet the other exhibitors and USPTO and Smithsonian employees?
In the past, exhibitors, their guests, USPTO executives and Trademark Expo staff have had the opportunity to meet at a reception held the first night of the Expo.
If I am selected as an exhibitor, may I have a role in the opening ceremony?
Exhibitors may be selected to participate in the opening ceremony at the discretion of the Expo Committee. Such participation is generally limited to providing entertainment or professionally-made costumed characters featuring marks. Exhibitor representatives are welcome to attend the opening ceremony but are encouraged to ensure that booths remains staffed during the ceremony.
How can I help spread the word about the Trademark Expo?
Please refer interested individuals to www.uspto.gov/TMExpo.
Thank you for your interest in the National Trademark Expo!