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The UTMB and the Ultra-Trail Trademark

Paul Bateson, race director of the Al Andalus Ultra Trail – former RAW Spain – brought to my attention an issue he is currently having with the Ultra Trail Mont-Blanc organization. As per the emails he got from a member of the French ultra he is not authorized to use Ultra-Trail as part of the race name. The UTMB claim is that Ultra-Trail is a trademark of theirs and that it can’t be comercially used without previous authorization. Specifically “[you can’t use], without our written permission, a trademark identical or similar to the ULTRA-TRAIL® trademark to designate products and services identical or similar to those designed in our trademarks.” Under those terms, forget to name your race as Ultra-Trail, Ultratrail or anything that is too close to this words.

Secondly, to get UTMB’s written authorization to use Ultra-Trail – or any similar terms – on a race, the event will have to be “used only for races in full nature of more than 80 km, in only one stage, in semi-autonomy, respectful of the environment and without any price money.” If I say ultra trail, everyone in the running world will understand what kind of event I’m talking about. But is there any international commitee that has wrtitten down the characteristics an ultra trail race has to have to be called that way? I couldn’t find it so if anyone knows that please leave a comment.

So Paul Bateson faces the situation to change the name of his race before 2010 if he wants it to be a qualifiying race for the UTMB and escape from copyright infringement trouble. There are other races out there with the Ultra-Trail words on its title (Madeira Island Ultra Trail for example ). So the questions is: is someone aware of any other race director getting one of those letters? Is the ultra running world becoming so commercially interesting to start having this kind of disrupting situations?