UFA™ Trademark Policy

The Utah Filmmakers™ Association has registered trademarks* for “Utah Filmmakers™,” Utah Filmmaker™,” and UFA™, within the state of Utah.

Why register trademarks?

To distinguish our organization and its members from the commonly used descriptive phrases and generic terms. Also, for branding purposes—i.e., merchandise and licensing.†

Yeah... but can the words “Utah” and “filmmaker(s)” really be trademarked?

The individual words? No. However, Utah Filmmakers” (Title-cased) is the legal name of the non-profit entity registered with the state of Utah and recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The name is trademarked, as specified in the description field on the trademark certificate:

“The Title/Headline cased nominal group ‘Utah Filmmakers’ used as a proper name.” (emphasis added)

Similarly, the trademark for the singular Utah Filmmaker (Title-cased) bears the description:

“The Title/Headline cased nominal group ‘Utah Filmmaker’ (singular) used as an identifying descriptor for organizational membership.” (emphasis added)

Remembering that a trademark does not signify ownership of any particular word or phrase is important.

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Disclaimer: What follows is an admittedly amateur lesson in English grammar, provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only (readers are not obligated to continue reading).‡ 

As mentioned above, the same individual words used in the sequence—“Utah filmmaker(s) (note that lowercase “f)—form a descriptive phrase which is also a common generic term describing filmmakers located in the state of Utah. 

The phrase is used in the names of several different clubs, loose affiliations, and online groups, some of which are formally associated with Utah Filmmakers.

Disclaimer: What follows is another admittedly amateur lesson in basic business practices, also provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only (readers are still not obligated to continue reading).§

When any filmmaker chooses a name for their production company—which requires registration with a government agency, like any other business—it's important to make sure that it's unique and distinctive and not “confusingly similar” to a business name already registered.

The Utah Division of Corporations has set up a searchable database that makes it fairly simple to see if a business name or something similar is already being used. It also has a similar tool for looking up state-registered trademarks.

While anyone can access these tools to register a business or a trademark, these are legal actions with very specific requirements, so before registering that LLC or S-Corp to make your movie, or registering a trademark for a potential franchise, be sure to consult an attorney.

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* Yes, anybody can edit Wikipedia articles, but this is an exhaustively sourced topic, and there isn't much general debate about it.

† To clarify, any merchandise sold by Utah Filmmakers™ will include the trademark ligature (™). These trademarks are used specifically to represent our organization and its members.

This does not prevent anyone else from designing and selling their own merchandise using the generic phrases “Utah filmmaker” or “Utah filmmakers”—even if they choose to make the stylistic choice of displaying it in a title/headline-cased format (i.e., with the first letter of each word Capitalized)—as long as it does not include the trademark symbol  (with one notable exception). This distinction is simply to avoid confusion regarding the source of the products. Some may argue that using any ligature in a design or illustration—even a logo—would make it less artistic.

‡ Hi there, fellow grammar nerds! Feel free to reach out with any corrections.

§ Shoutout to all the MBAs, Line producers, and Production Managers out there who may or may not have OCD and appreciate footnotes and attention to detail!

(Current revision: October 18, 2023)