What Guilds Need to Know About The Modern Quilt Guild Trademark

Our Trademark

The United States Trademark and Patent Office granted the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG) a trademark on its name in 2015 based on a first use date of October 2009, when The LAMQG and the MQG were simultaneously founded. All other local guilds of the MQG were established thereafter. Any local guilds that existed before the MQG collected dues in 2013 were affiliated with the organization through a website, communications, challenges, and events, and therefore have always fallen under the umbrella of the MQG.

Why Trademark?

In the early days, as the MQG began to grow as an organization, individuals and businesses asked to use the Modern Quilt Guild name for products, books, patterns, and other revenue-generating items. We were thrilled to be welcomed to the quilting industry, but it made us realize that without trademarking, there was no way to prevent organizations, individuals, and businesses from profiting off our quickly growing community of members simply by using the organization’s name. It became clear that trademarking would protect the integrity of the MQG’s mission and protect its members.

There are numerous reasons to trademark, and it is common practice amongst non-profit organizations and associations that are similar in structure to the MQG. Some examples include the Studio Art Quilt Associates, the Craft & Hobby Association, the American Needlecraft Association, and the Quilt Trade Association. Trademarking helps protect the MQG’s non-profit status and minimizes confusion about whether local guilds are affiliated with the organization.

Also, as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the MQG must operate primarily for charitable and educational purposes. Therefore, the organization must make sure that private inurement (when a nonprofit’s money goes to private uses or a private individual, instead of charitable or educational purposes) never occurs. All income from a project must go back to the guild, and as a result, the organization needs to be aware of how and where its name is used.

Additionally, trademarking helps protect the MQG’s members, values, and benefits. The use of the MQG name communicates that a local guild is a recognized affiliate, therefore providing all the same benefits as the worldwide MQG. As this is an added value of membership, it attracts new members and ensures that they understand exactly what membership includes. If a guild is not affiliated with the Modern Quilt Guild but uses the MQG name, it could create confusion in the marketplace, with the potential to turn away new members and inhibit growth. Having a trademark on the name, and ensuring that only official local guilds use it, eliminates this problem.   

Because of the many benefits of trademarking, most large organizations and businesses (both non-profit and for-profit), eventually file to trademark their name. The MQG did just that in 2014, and the trademark was granted the following year. Since then, all of our efforts to streamline a consistent trademark across guilds have been to protect the organization and the interests of our many members around the world.


Can We Sell Items With The MQG Logo On Them? 

“The Modern Quilt Guild” is a registered trademark, therefore it, and the organization’s logo, cannot be used on merchandise by guilds without the permission of MQG staff, who will need to sign off on the final product. If your guild seeks this permission, please contact us with enough time to review and ensure the trademark is being used correctly. You can email info@themodernquiltguild.com.  

You are welcome to sell items with your local guild logo.

Can We Use The Modern Quilt Guild Name In Projects Developed By Local Guilds? 


As a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, the MQG must operate primarily for charitable and educational purposes. Therefore, no private inurement (when a nonprofit’s money goes to private uses, or a private individual, instead of charitable or educational purposes) can happen. All income from a project must go back to the guild putting it up. 


The MQG wants to keep its vision and voice cohesive when dealing with a national and/or international audience. Therefore, 

  1. If the audience for the project is wider than regional, the MQG has input into if the project can move forward.
  2. If it does move forward, the MQG retains creative control, input, and final approval over the project. 
  3. We don’t want to hinder anyone’s ability to write his or her book idea, or another project, so if needed, we encourage a small tweak to the idea that will enable the project to move forward.
    • Rather than “The Quilts of Springfield Modern Quilt Guild,” they could write a book called “The Quilts of Springfield Modern Quilters” or “Modern Quilts from the Springfield Area” or make another similar change.
    • Remove the specific “Modern Quilt Guild” link and this solves both the private inurement issue and also our concerns about keeping the national and international MQG communications all in-house.