Can I Trademark a Dance Move?
No. At least not how you’d think.
Dance moves themselves are not trademarkable because they are not used to identify where goods or services originate, unlike a logo, slogan, or brand name. But what about when people say that you have a “trademark” dance move? Well, that just means that a person does a certain type of move, like a touchdown victory celebration, that you identify with that person. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean they can actually register it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
However, a dance move can be trademarked in that the name of that dance move can be trademarked. Take a look at Tebowing or Kaepernicking. Two registered trademarks for celebratory touchdown poses that are now trademarked for various types of clothes and apparel. As you can see, the players came up with the move, used the move, became known for using the move, and the name developed from there. They then trademarked the name. So, in certain situations, it is possible to trademark a dance move, but just the name of it and not the move itself.
Since we’re talking intellectual property, I may as well mention that it may also be possible to copyright a dance—but not just a move itself. You have to combine a number of dance moves and patterns into an expressive whole for it to be eligible for copyright protection.
If you are interested in learning more about dance trademarks and copyrights or are a choreographer interested in protecting your dance studio’s intellectual property, contact us today to speak with trademark attorney Eric Norton to discuss the possibilities of protecting your brand with a registered trademark.