Main Street Name Use Policy

MEMBERSHIP IN THE NATIONAL MAIN STREET NETWORK® DOES NOT ENTITLE AN ORGANIZATION TO USE THE NAME "MAIN STREET." FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE NATIONAL MAIN STREET CENTER'S NAME USE POLICY SEE BELOW.

Policy on the Use of the Name "Main Street"

The National Trust for Historic Preservation® owns the trademark for the phrase "Main Street"1 as it applies to the revitalization of traditional and historic commercial districts. The Trust allows local, regional, state, and citywide organizations involved in the revitalization of these commercial districts to use the name "Main Street" to describe their programs, according to the following guidelines:

Local Main Street Programs' Use of "Main Street" Name

  • Local non-profit or government-based Main Street® programs may use the Main Street® name if the Main Street® revitalization methodology is the fundamental organizational framework of the organization using the name "Main Street." In particular, the organization must work comprehensively in all four areas of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, with historic preservation as a key principle and practice, have a volunteer governing board and volunteer committees corresponding to Main Street's Four Points®, and have paid staff.
  • Main Street® coordinating programs have sole discretion in determining whether a community may claim to be part of the Main Street® coordinating program, designating communities as such through a selection process. See Enforcement, below.
  • A "self-initiated" or "independent" local program (defined as an organization that utilizes the Main Street Four-Point Approach® but has not been selected to participate in a Main Street® coordinating program) may not use "Main Street" in its organizational name without the express written permission of the National Trust®. The Trust may grant permission for the organization to use "Main Street" in its name if it is able to determine with confidence that the local organization works comprehensively in all four areas of the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, with historic preservation as a key principle and practice, has a volunteer governing board and volunteer committees correspond to Main Street's Four Points®, and has paid staff.
  • While "self-initiated" or "independent" local programs may not use "Main Street" as part of their organizations' name without permission from the National Trust®, they may state that they utilize or follow the Main Street Approach® in their commercial district revitalization efforts. The claim is subject to the same rules of enforcement as using "Main Street" in the organization's name.
  • Use of the name "Main Street" by a local revitalization program does not necessarily mean that the program is part of a state, city, or regional coordinating program or that it meets the 10 criteria necessary to be an accredited National Main Street® Program.
  • Statewide, citywide, and regional Main Street® coordinating programs are responsible for determining which communities within their geographic jurisdiction meet the 10 criteria of the National Trust Main Street Center's® National Accreditation for local Main Street® Programs.
  • Purchase of National Main Street Network® Membership has no relevance or relationship with local Main Street® program selection/designation, and does not convey permission for any organization to use the name "Main Street" or to call themselves such.

Coordinating Main Street® Program's Use of the Main Street® Name

  • The National Trust® permits only officially recognized state, city, and regional Main Street® coordinating programs to use the Main Street® name to describe the organization. Click here for a list of recognized Main Street coordinating programs.
  • Statewide, citywide, and regional coordinating Main Street® programs must meet national criteria established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation® in order to use the name "Main Street."
  • Use of the "Main Street" name by a coordinating Main Street® program does not necessarily mean that the program meets the standards required for coordinating program accreditation.

 Enforcement

The National Trust® places tremendous value on the Main Street® brand and vigorously protects its trademark rights. When informed of examples of misuse of the Main Street® name, the Trust actively pursues a cessation of use of the name by the offending organization and is prepared, when required, to take the appropriate legal action to uphold the above standards and policies.

Statewide, citywide, and regional coordinating programs should alert the National Trust® to any local organization that use "Main Street" in their name but do not make the Main Street® revitalization methodology the fundamental organizational framework of their programs. Statewide, citywide, and regional coordinating programs should also alert the National Trust® to any local organizations that claim to follow the Main Street Approach® but are not actually using any or all of Main Street's Four Points®. The National Trust® will contact these communities and ask that they discontinue use of the name "Main Street."

Statewide, citywide, and other coordinating Main Street® programs are permitted to deny local Main Street® organizations the privilege of using the name "Main Street," if the local organization is an active participant in the coordinating program but has ceased to follow the guidelines established by the coordinating program. The coordinating program has the authority to request that the offending organization immediately cease use of the Main Street® name. The coordinating program does not have the authority to deny the use of the Main Street® name to organizations outside its selected/designated participants. That responsibility rests solely with the National Trust®, which will examine and act accordingly upon reported instances of misuse of the Main Street® name.

Footnotes

1.) This includes the phrase Main Street®, Great American Main Street Awards®, Main Street Four-Point Approach®, National Main Street Center®, National Main Street Institute®, National Main Street Network®, National Town Meeting on Main Street® and National Trust Main Street Center®.

Download the Name Use Policy.

Revised March 11, 2011