Trademark Guidelines

Unless stated otherwise in these Trademark General Guidelines, all use of the SXSW Marks (defined below), requires advance written approval from SXSW. Request approval here, and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request.

General Information

Background and the SXSW Marks

Since 1987, the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festivals has provided a premiere conference, festival, and programming related goods and services that have achieved international recognition for their excellence. Simultaneously, the SXSW Marks have attained status as famous trademarks.

The “SXSW Marks” include, but are not limited to, trademarks, service marks, names, designs and logos owned by SXSW, as well as any word, slogan, image, or other designation that identifies the source or origin of any of SXSW’s goods and/or services. The SXSW Marks include word marks, or any variations thereof, that contain only text (e.g., SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST or SXSW)(collectively, the “SXSW Word Mark(s)”) or designs, such as the SXSW logo, or any variation thereof (the “SXSW Logo(s)”):

SXSW LLC Logo

SXSW maintains federal, state, and/or common law trademark protection in and to the SXSW Marks in both the United States and many international jurisdictions. Accordingly, these Trademark General Guidelines are intended to help you understand how to use the SXSW Marks in a manner that maintains SXSW’s protection of the SXSW Marks and simultaneously allows you to promote your involvement with SXSW. Any examples provided herein are non-exhaustive and you agreement with SXSW (if you have one) controls your ability to use the SXSW Marks.

Please be aware that use of terms that are variations of or derived from the SXSW Marks (e.g., Soul By Soul West, SXSA, the South By Party, South by [Company]) (collectively, the “Variation Marks”) are strictly prohibited.

Keep in mind that unauthorized use of the SXSW Marks or Variation Marks likely constitutes trademark and/or copyright infringement.

LIST OF SXSW MARKS

Below is a non-exhaustive list of the SXSW Marks. The absence of a trademark, name, logo, slogan, image, or other designation from this list does not constitute a waiver of SXSW’s intellectual property and/or trademark rights in such trademark, name, logo, slogan, image, or other designation.

South by Southwest®
SXSW®
South By®
SX™
SXSWedu®
Daily Chord®
Grulke Prize®
PanelPicker®
Rightround®
ScreenBurn®
Southbites®
Startup Village®
Style By®
Style X®
SXsports®
SXSW Accelerator®
SXSWeek®
SXSWfm®
SXSWorld®
North by Northwest®
NXNW®
South by Southeast™
SXSE™

Prohibited Uses of the SXSW Marks

(1) UNAPPROVED EVENTS

SXSW is not the only event taking place in Austin, Texas during the month of March. To eliminate confusion, it is critical that only SXSW approved events use the SXSW Marks. Accordingly, using the SXSW Marks, or any confusingly similar variations thereof, in association with the promotion or operation of an event not approved or sanctioned by SXSW is strictly prohibited. We suggest you use the moniker “ATX Spring Festival” if your event is not approved or sanctioned by SXSW.

Examples of unapproved events:

  • Pay to play events (requiring artists to pay to perform)
  • Events that do not coordinate with SXSW for safety, production, planning, and/or any other purposes
  • (2) DISPARAGING USES OR VIOLATING LAWS

    Use of the SXSW Marks in a disparaging manner or in a way that violates any law or regulation is strictly prohibited.

    (3) VARIATION MARKS

    Use of terms that are variations of or derived from the SXSW Marks (e.g., Soul By Soul West, SXSA, the South By Party, South by [Company]) (collectively, the “Variation Marks”) are strictly prohibited.

    (4) WRONGFUL ASSERTIONS OF OWNERSHIP

    Any display of the SXSW Marks that suggests or implies that you own or control the SXSW Marks is strictly prohibited.

    (5) UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THE SXSW MARKS

    Any use not explicitly authorized by SXSW is prohibited.

    Trademark Licensing

    The non-exhaustive list below identifies ways you might wish to use the SXSW Marks. Each of these uses requires a license, which may be requested here. SXSW reserves the right to approve or deny any license request.

    (1) EDITORIAL CONTENT THAT SUGGESTS SXSW APPROVES OF THE CONTENT

    While we do want you to write about SXSW, if your content suggests that SXSW has approved or endorsed your content or the source of your content you need to request a trademark license from SXSW prior to distributing the content.

    Doesn’t require a license:

  • Title of article, “A Review of the Performances at SXSW”
  • Requires a license:

  • Title of article, “SXSW’s List of Top Performances”
  • (2) COMMERCIAL USE

    “Commercial use” of the SXSW Marks without advance written approval from SXSW is strictly prohibited without a license. A commercial use of the SXSW Marks is any non-editorial use in association with the promotion of the products or services of a person or entity other than SXSW.

    Examples of unauthorized commercial use:

  • Use of the SXSW Marks in company blog posts promoting the products and/or services of the company
  • Use of the SXSW Marks on physical flyers, and/or signage promoting the products and services of the company
  • Use of the SXSW Marks in connection with content that requires a user to pay a subscription or fee to access the content
  • (3) MERCHANDISE

    You may not use the SXSW Marks on any apparel, posters, toys, or other merchandise without a written license agreement from SXSW. If you would like to request permission to use the SXSW Marks on merchandise, please contact one of our marketing contacts.

    (4) CONTESTS & GIVEAWAYS

    You may not use the SXSW Marks in connection with any raffles, giveaways, auctions, contests, sweepstakes, competitions, or similar activities without written permission from SXSW.

    Examples of unauthorized contests & giveaways:

  • Calling for entrants to “enter to win two (2) badges and airfare to SXSW” through social media
  • Including SXSW badges in a live auction
  • (5) SOCIAL MEDIA & THE INTERNET

    Use of the SXSW Marks on your social media websites or elsewhere on the internet requires a license. The SXSW Marks shall not be used in any web URLs without SXSW’s prior written approval. Additionally, any commercial use of the SXSW Marks in a hashtag (#) requires a license.

    Please keep in mind that the SXSW Marks include SX, SOUTH BY, and any variations thereof, and are also governed by this section.

    Examples of SXSW Marks use on social media & on the Internet that requires a license:

  • #[Company Name]SX
  • #[Company Name]SXSW
  • http://www.[CompanyName]SXSW.com
  • HOW DO I REQUEST A TRADEMARK LICENSE FROM SXSW?

    To request a trademark license from SXSW, please fill out this form. SXSW reserves the right to approve or deny any license request in SXSW’s sole discretion.

    Upon receipt of a trademark license from SXSW, carefully review the terms, and ensure that your planned uses of the SXSW Marks are within the scope of the authorized uses under the license.

    HOW SHOULD THE LICENSED SXSW MARKS BE DISPLAYED?

    (1) REQUEST APPROVAL

    All proposed displays of the SXSW Marks must be submitted to SXSW for prior approval. Such approval may be done via email.

    (2) INCLUDE TRADEMARK NOTICE

         (a) SXSW requires consistent use of the SXSW Marks and the trademark symbol (“™”) or, if appropriate, the registration symbol (“®”) alongside the licensed SXSW Marks the first or most prominent time the SXSW Marks appear in the text of an approved advertisement, brochure, or other materials. Please refer to the non-exhaustive list of SXSW Marks to determine whether it is appropriate to use the trademark symbol or the registration symbol in association with particular SXSW Marks.

         (b) Except on social media where character limits exist, include an attribution of SXSW’s ownership of the SXSW Marks in the credit section of your approved document, posting, etc., as follows:

    “[INSERT LICENSED SXSW MARKS] is a trademark of SXSW, LLC, used under license.”

    (3) COMPLY WITH THE LOGO GUIDELINES

    Upon licensing the SXSW Marks, remember to request a high-resolution version of the art comprising the SXSW Logo and the corresponding guidelines (“Logo Guidelines”). Any licensee that is issued a trademark license for a SXSW Logo will be required to follow the Logo Guidelines.

    (4) NO MODIFICATION OF THE SXSW MARKS

    The SXSW Marks must be displayed exactly as written (in the case of a SXSW Word Mark) or depicted (in the case of a SXSW Logo). Any desired modifications or alterations of any SXSW Marks, including combining any part of one of the SXSW Marks with your company’s name, trademarks, or other terms, for hashtags, websites, advertisements, or any other uses, must be explicitly licensed by SXSW prior to any use, which approval may be withheld by SXSW in SXSW’s sole discretion. If SXSW chooses to grant you permission to use any such modified/variation mark, it will be owned by SXSW and may be used by you only pursuant to a written license agreement from SXSW.

    Please keep in mind that use of SX, South By, and any variations thereof are also governed by this section.

    Examples of unauthorized modifications/variations:

  • #[Company Name]SXSW
  • http://www.SouthBy[CompanyName].com
  • SX[Company Name] in physical fliers/signage
  • (5) NO PARTNERSHIP

    The SXSW Marks shall not be displayed in a manner that implies partnership, sponsorship, or endorsement of you or a third party by SXSW (or any products or services offered by yourself or a third party) without SXSW’s advance written approval.

    Editorial Use of the SXSW Marks

    Please contact ip@sxsw.com to confirm whether your proposed use requires a license. You may also refer to the SXSW Press Center for more information on our press policies and resources.

    We encourage you to discuss SXSW in editorial content, and we enjoy hearing about your official participation and experiences at our SXSW events. Editorial content includes reviews, news reporting, and commentary that expresses opinions about SXSW or provides objective reporting about SXSW, and the SXSW events. Such editorial content is probably acceptable without a license, but be aware that editorial content that suggests SXSW approves of the content and commercial content requires a license, and SXSW reserves the right to request your removal of such content.

    Editorial (no license required):

  • Title of article, “[Your Company’s] Review of the Performances at SXSW”
  • License required:

  • Title of article, “SXSW’s List of Top Performances”
  • If you wish to use the SXSW Logos in editorial content, please submit a SXSW trademark request, and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request. Please also be sure to select “Press Outlet” on the first page.

    If I Can’t Use the SXSW Marks, What Can I Use?

    Remember, use of Variation Marks (e.g., Soul By Soul West, SXSA, the South By Party, South by [Company]) is strictly prohibited.

    If you don’t qualify for a trademark license we recommend the following:

    USE “ATX SPRING FESTIVAL” INSTEAD OF THE SXSW MARKS

    The moniker “ATX Spring Festival” is an approved alternative to the SXSW Marks. Please use ATX Spring Festival to avoid infringing the SXSW Marks.

    Correct

  • “Attend my ATX Spring Festival Event”
  • “Attend my Event at the ATX Spring Festival”
  • Incorrect

  • “Attend my Unofficial SXSW Event”
  • “Attend my Unofficial Event at SXSW”

  • Trademark Usage Guidelines

    Although your official agreement (if you have one) with SXSW controls how you are allowed to use the SXSW Marks, the descriptions below provide an overview of how you might use the SXSW Marks based on your relationship with SXSW:

    I am an official SXSW 2018 Artist, Speaker, PanelPicker Applicant, Filmmaker, Venue or Showcase Presenter (collectively, the “Participants”)...

    …and wish to use the SXSW Marks to promote my participation in SXSW.

  • You are permitted (and encouraged) to use the SXSW Marks on social media, on physical flyers and on digital flyers / promotional images to promote your participation in SXSW.
  • You are permitted to use the SXSW Marks in hashtags as follows: (i) #CompanyatSXSW; (ii) #COMPANYatSXSW; (iii) #Company_SXSW; and/or (iv) #SXSW. Any other use of the SXSW Marks in hashtags requires SXSW’s prior approval.
  • All Participants receive a packet of SXSW Logos that you may use with SXSW’s prior approval. To attain approval, or if you are not able to locate these assets, please contact your SXSW representative. You may also send an inquiry to ip@sxsw.com.
  • You may not use any SXSW Logos that are not included in the packet of SXSW Logos without SXSW’s prior approval. If you wish to request permission to use other SXSW Logos, please submit a SXSW trademark request, and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request.
  • You may use the SXSW Social Media Images to promote your involvement in SXSW.
  • I am a representative of a Participant (e.g., agent or manager)...

    …and wish to use the SXSW Marks to promote my participation in SXSW.

  • You are permitted (and encouraged) to use the SXSW Marks on social media, on physical flyers and on digital flyers / promotional images to promote your participation in SXSW.
  • You are permitted to use the SXSW Marks in hashtags as follows: (i) #CompanyatSXSW; (ii) #COMPANYatSXSW; (iii) #Company_SXSW; and/or (iv) #SXSW. Any other use of the SXSW Marks in hashtags requires SXSW’s prior approval.
  • All Participants receive a packet of SXSW Logos that you may use with SXSW’s prior approval. To attain approval, or if you are not able to locate these assets, please contact your SXSW representative. You may also send an inquiry to ip@sxsw.com.
  • You may not use any SXSW Logos that are not included in the packet of SXSW Logos without SXSW’s prior approval. If you wish to request permission to use other SXSW Logos, please submit a SXSW trademark request, and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request.
  • You may use the SXSW Social Media Images to promote your involvement in SXSW.
  • I am an official SXSW client, such as a trade show exhibitor...

    … and want to use the SXSW Marks to promote my participation in SXSW.

  • Please refer to any existing contracts you have with SXSW for detailed information on permitted uses of the SXSW Marks.
  • If you do not have a contract with SXSW or if you are unclear about what is / is not permitted under your contract, please contact your SXSW representative for clarification.
  • You may use the SXSW Social Media Images to promote your involvement in SXSW.
  • I am a SXSW badgeholder...

    …and want to use the SXSW Marks to share my plans or post about things I see at SXSW.

    You are permitted (and encouraged) to use the SXSW Word Marks and the hashtag #SXSW to share your SXSW experience on social media for non-commercial purposes.

    I am participating in a showcase or other event that is not officially affiliated with SXSW...

    …and want to use the SXSW Marks to promote myself.

  • Use of the SXSW Marks is not permitted to promote participation in any events that are not officially affiliated with SXSW.
  • The moniker “ATX Spring Festival” is an approved alternative to the SXSW Marks. Please use ATX Spring Festival to avoid infringing the SXSW Marks.
  • As a reminder, use of Variation Marks (e.g., Soul By Soul West, SXSA, the South By Party, South by [Company]) is strictly prohibited.
  • I am a student or teacher...

    …and want to use the SXSW Marks in a presentation or educational materials.

  • If you would like to use the SXSW Logos in any presentation, please submit a SXSW trademark request and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request.
  • Any use of the SXSW Marks in any publications or public-facing materials is strictly prohibited without SXSW’s advance written approval.
  • I am the organizer of a charity event...

    …and want to use the SXSW Marks to promote our fundraising efforts.

  • If SXSW has donated credentials to be offered as giveaway items, auction items, or other such prizes in a charity event that you are hosting and you wish to use the SXSW Marks to promote this prize, please submit a SXSW trademark request and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request.
  • If SXSW has not donated such prizes to your organization, use of the SXSW Marks and giving away SXSW credentials is prohibited without SXSW’s advance written approval. Please contact jenn@sxsw.com for more information.
  • I am an advertiser, social media influencer, web or merchandise designer or other design, advertising or merchandising professional...

    …and I want to use the SXSW Marks in my designs.

  • If you are working with SXSW in an official capacity, please refer to your existing contracts with SXSW and contact your SXSW representative for clarification on permitted use of the SXSW Marks.
  • Use of the SXSW Logos to link to sxsw.com is prohibited. You may, however, use the SXSW Word Marks to link to sxsw.com as long as your use of the SXSW Word Marks follows all guidelines set forth in these SXSW Trademark General Guidelines.
  • If you are not working with SXSW, or if you are unsure about whether or not you are working with SXSW, please submit a SXSW trademark request, and provide as many details as possible so that we can understand the context for your request.

  • If you have any questions about these Trademark General Guidelines or use of the SXSW Marks, please contact us at ip@sxsw.com or at the following address: SXSW, LLC, Attn: Trademarks, P.O. Box 685289, Austin, TX 78768. SXSW reserves the right to modify or change the terms of these guidelines at any time at its sole discretion.

    Capital One logo
    Austin Chronicle logo

    Stay Tuned

    Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.