ABI appreciates the support, civic pride, and ownership that the public and residents take in the Atlanta BeltLine. The Atlanta BeltLine logo and name are important brand assets that represent the high standards of this catalytic redevelopment program. In order to protect this public asset for the public, the names, taglines, and logos are trademarked and have guidelines around how they may be published, used for businesses, leveraged for events, and more.
The BELTLINE ®, ATLANTA BELTLINE ®, BELTLINE ATLANTA CONNECTED ®, ATLANTA CONNECTED ®, ATLANTA BELTLINE RUNNING SERIES ® and the BeltLine mosaic logo are registered trademarks, amongst many others, owned by Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Any reproduction or use of any of such marks or such logo is prohibited, as is any combination or alteration of these marks and the logo. The unauthorized reproduction, sale, or dissemination of the content contained on the Atlanta BeltLine website (www.beltline.org) is also prohibited. Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. seeks to protect its marks in order to preserve their integrity, and will use all available legal remedies to protect the same.
We respect everyone’s right to freedom of speech and expression about the Atlanta BeltLine and it is never our intent to control public perception of ABI by infringing on those rights. However, when others use “Atlanta BeltLine” or “BeltLine” as part of their own name and brand for a product or a service, it can create the mistaken impression that the individual or business and their product or service is either provided by or is related to or sponsored by ABI.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does ABI trademark its names, logos, and taglines?
Correct and consistent use of trademarks and service marks is essential to maintaining their distinctiveness, viability and value. Trademark laws require that trademark owners protect and control the use of their marks or risk losing rights to their marks.
Use of BELTLINE® or ATLANTA BELTLINE® as the name of a business, product or service or as other indicia of source without authorization from ABI can create the mistaken impression that the individual or business and their product or service is either provided by or is affiliated with or is sponsored by ABI when that is not the case, and it can dilute the trademark rights.
Moreover, when you have multiple entities using the trademark/name, it creates more than just confusion regarding that entity’s association with ABI, it also creates a liability issue for the City of Atlanta, ABI, and taxpayers if an unauthorized user of the trademark causes harm or damage to another.
For example, ABI was recently notified of an individual’s intent to sue ABI based on an injury caused by a non-ABI affiliated entity which used the words Atlanta BeltLine in their name. While ABI has no culpability or involvement in the matter, resources that could be used for the project have to be diverted from the construction, development and maintenance of the trail to defend such actions. This is why we protect the use of the name the way we do.
This is distinguishable from the permissible use of the words “Beltline” or “Atlanta Beltline” in regular text in a sentence or paragraph to refer to ABI or the Atlanta Beltline project, and not as a mark in connection with a third party business or entity or as the name of a third party product or service.
What other public spaces protect their trademarks like the Atlanta BeltLine?
Has ABI allowed for licensing agreements?
Yes. ABI has a license agreement with the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP). ABP is authorized to enter into sublicense agreements with sponsors and donors under very specific circumstances. Request logo and name usage.
What is a license agreement and how does one apply for one?
A licensing agreement allows for a limited use of the trademarks for a specific purpose and usually at a cost. If an individual or entity asks to be considered for a license agreement (as indicated above), the President and CEO, in consultation with the legal department, will determine if approval is appropriate based on guidelines established in 2010 (currently under review and subject to revision).
A license may or may not be appropriate depending on multiple factors, such as the qualifications of the proposed licensee, quality control, and whether or not ABI or an existing licensee itself provides the same or similar products or services. For example, if a third party uses an ABI mark and is involved in illegal, unscrupulous activity or provides a defective or poor quality product or service, it can harm not only the consumer but also the brand and ABI.
It is also not unusual for third parties that register domain names that consist of other people’s trademarks to do so for no other purpose than to squat on the names in order to later re-sell them, capitalizing on the value of the brand, and having no legitimate proposed use of the domain names. A license is not appropriate in such situations. Request logo and name usage.
How does ABI contact unauthorized users?
Once ABI becomes aware of an unauthorized use, where possible, our Communications Department contacts them first in the spirit of good will via a personal phone call or email. An entity may not be aware that they are using a registered trademark. After the Communications Department reaches out, the legal team will contact the entity as necessary.