Little Free Library’s Trademark Origins
The year 2012 was a big one for Little Free Library. We were recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and we filed for trademark protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the phrase “Little Free Library.”
We regularly get questions about our trademarks and how others can use them. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions we hear. You can learn more by reading our Letter from the Executive Director about Little Free Library’s trademark or by viewing Little Free Library’s Trademark Agreement.
Click the ▶ symbol next to any question to reveal the answer.
Does Little Free Library Ltd have a trademark on the phrase “Little Free Library”?
Yes, “Little Free Library” is a trademarked term. Little Free Library Ltd first filed for a trademark for the phrase “Little Free Library” on February 21, 2012. It was registered by the US Patent and Trademark Office as a protected mark on October 29, 2013.
Our trademark applies to the full phrase “Little Free Library” as well as variations like “Little Library,” “Little Free Libraries,” and any language that could create confusion. The trademark covers a variety of goods and services. As our organization and offerings evolve and expand, it warrants adding new categories of trademark coverage.
Does Little Free Library take action against others that use the phrase “Little Free Library” and its variants?
Little Free Library Ltd takes action only against organizations or individuals that use our registered marks to sell products and services without our permission. Protecting our name and reputation is critical to our success as a nonprofit literacy advocate.
I want to use the phrase “Little Free Library” to sell a product. How do I do that?
We invite organizations that wish to use our registered brand for profit to contact us to discuss a licensing agreement. Please fill out our Permissions Form for your request to be considered.
I’m a registered Little Free Library steward. Can I use the phrase “Little Free Library”?
Yes, registered Little Free Library stewards are free to use our trademarked name for activities associated with their book-sharing box. If you wish to use the phrase to sell products or raise funds, please fill out our Permissions Form.
I have a book-sharing box that is not registered with the Little Free Library nonprofit. Can I use the phrase “Little Free Library”?
No, only registered stewards can use the “Little Free Library” trademarked name. For registration information and benefits, please visit our Charter Signs and Registration page.
Does Little Free Library prevent people from creating their own unregistered book-sharing boxes?
No. We believe that book-sharing is a wonderful thing—whatever form it takes. In fact, we provide free plans and blueprints for book-sharing boxes on our website and provide tips on how to get started!
We hope that those who build their own book-sharing boxes will register them with us and become part of the global Little Free Library community, but that is up to the individual.