FIRST & Registered Trademarks on Websites

When referring to FIRST I know it is advisable to use italics but, in the context of websites, do we have to put the registered trademark symbol after every usage?

Does it also apply to Gracious Professionalism?

I’d rather find out now than have to go change content after I’m finished. :yikes:


From my understanding of the acceptable use policies. Whenever FIRST, FRC, FTC, FLL, etc. are used with in a document, only the first instance needs to have the registered or trademark symbol, any subsequent instances do not need to have the symbol. Whether this applies to website pages as well, I am not sure, but I can say from looking at several Team pages, this guideline isn’t followed. Also, take a look at the USFIRST website and see how they do things.

Just my 0.02

Just put some fine print at the bottom that says:

FIRST, FRC, FTC, FLL, JR.FLL, COOPERTITION, GRACIOUS PROFESSIONALISM, LUNACY, and BREAKAWAY are registered trademarks of United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology AKA US FIRST CORPORATION NEW HAMPSHIRE 200 Bedford Street Manchester NEW HAMPSHIRE 03101.

Mike o. is correct. The ® is required the first time only. See Appendix A item 4 of Policy on the Use of FIRST®Trademarks and Copyrighted Materials. Gracious Professionalism™ is trademarked.

You may also be in need ofFIRST Branding and Design Standards.

No, but it’s complicated. There are two places the ® symbol appears: in the logo, and following the registered trademarks.

First, let’s talk about FIRST’s logos. These must be assumed to be copyrighted (by virtue of being artistic works that aren’t of obviously trivial complexity), so if you remove the ® symbol from the logo, you may be creating a derivative work against the terms of the licence (which specifiesFIRST and LEGO copyrighted materials may never be used in any modified form.”).

As for their trademarks and service marks, you can’t use those marks in a way that would dilute FIRST’s brand or mislead people—those are tenets of trademark law which apply irrespective of any licence. But you can use the trademarked names nominatively or in terms of the word “first” (e.g. “the first robotics competition”, meaning the inaugural one), and there’s little FIRST can do about it. For example, I’m not attaching ® to any instance of “FIRST”, nor am I italicizing it,* nor am I posting disclaimers. But they have no cause of action, because these uses are permitted under the law in order that people may comment upon the subject of the mark.

Here’s the confusing part: this freedom might not apply to you if you’re using their logo—because then you’re expected to assent to the terms of licence in order to use their copyrighted material, and those terms of licence impose restrictions on you. Some of those licence restrictions cover the logo itself, but there are additional restrictions that cover the trademarks too. (In theory, that licence is an agreement between you and FIRST.)

However, their licence is not the only way you can use the logo: for certain purposes, you can do so under the principle of copyright fair use, without any licence—so it’s actually entirely possible to avoid all restrictions that FIRST has placed in the licence. But to do this, you have to restrict yourself to legitimate fair use to avoid infringement.

Oftentimes, you’ll find that companies will aggressively assert intellectual property rights, in order to strengthen any future cases. They may be overplaying their hand, so as to demonstrate that they have actively engaged in the defence of their property (to overcome an argument of abandonment or genericization).

As a practical matter, nearly everything that is posted on ChiefDelphi in relation to FIRST’s intellectual property would fall under one of the exemptions. (Therefore compliance with the terms of licence in that context would usually be irrelevant.)

As a final complication, there’s one hypothetical way that FIRST could, if feeling particularly vindictive, strike back at people using their marks in legal ways that they didn’t appreciate. Since we’re all participants in the various FIRST programs, they could retaliate by making compliance with their logo guidelines a necessary aspect of participation. (Of course, this would be stupid, and wouldn’t endear them to anyone.)

Now, with all that said, those are your legal rights. You can always be nice to FIRST and do what they ask of you, even absent any formal requirement to comply. But in my case, at least, I find the italics to be an abuse of typography and won’t stand for them.

*Except where I quoted them—and that quote is an example of a fair use extract for the purposes of critical commentary.

Thank you everyone for replying. I am currently using the ® on every usage but I might change that since two of you pointed out it is only needed once.

The biggest reason I asked is that I want to enter this year’s site in the website award category and proper usage earns you more points. :stuck_out_tongue:
I also wanted to check because on the website feedback I received last year one of the evaluators mentioned that there was no copyright statement and that I needed one. I’m still confused about that comment but I want to try and get it right this year.

Thank you again.:smiley:

Are you allowed to mention FIRST or FRC as in “FRC Team 3182” in a different font than used in the logo when not using it in a body of text? I know they have a document on their site that has very specific guidelines on fonts and colors but I’m not sure if that means just for the logo words and official pamphlets or not. I was looking to use this as part of our team logo. Would i need to use their font, italicize it and put the copyrighted symbol (since its on the banner of the site and would be the “first” time it appeared?)


I recommend folks read The Branding & Design Standards and the Policy on Use of FIRST Trademarks

I’m not quite sure but I don’t believe that you are required to use their font. For my team’s website I have FIRST in italics with the registered trademark on the banner.

I’ve read this, the typefaces section is the part that is confusing me. I’m not sure if its saying that you only can use this font whenever referring to FIRST in any context, even just type.