What’s in a Name?

By Dale Saran

In Legal

April 18, 2013

PDF Article

CrossFit HQ General Counsel Dale Saran explains why a local throwdown is not a “CrossFit competition.”

CrossFit’s growth has produced a number of interesting side effects, most of them positive.

One byproduct of CrossFit’s spread and the continued business success of CrossFit affiliates has been the growth of the Sport of Fitness. This has significant consequences for CrossFit Inc.’s intellectual property, all CrossFit affiliates and the entire CrossFit community.

There is a significant amount of confusion about the use of the CrossFit trademark and the distinction between “CrossFit the strength-and-conditioning program” and “CrossFit the Sport of Fitness.” As a result, Internet geniuses spout off about what the confusion means for the trademark, companies advertise “CrossFit” competitions, and many affiliates and athletes remain unaware that an issue even exists.

It’s important to remember that CrossFit was a company and then a registered trademark before it ever became a sport, and the only CrossFit competitions are those directly organized and authorized by CrossFit HQ, such as the events of the CrossFit Games season and out-of-season events such as the CrossFit Invitational.

There’s a difference between playing baseball in your back yard and playing second base in Major League Baseball, just as there’s a difference between doing Fran in your garage and doing Fran at the Home Depot Center during the CrossFit Games.

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3 Comments on “What’s in a Name?”


wrote …

Well said, Dale. Thank you for taking the time to explain the how and why here. This should be a very helpful resource for the community.


wrote …

Such a supreme tone to this..


wrote …

I think the difficulty comes because the name "CrossFit" has been transformed into a verb. We do CrossFit or compete in CrossFit, we are CrossFitters. Nobody in the MLB says "oh I have a Major League Baseball game today" they would say "I play baseball." So are we supposed to say "I am competing in a local fitness throwdown," to which we will probably get a follow up question, "what will you be doing there?" ... "Oh, we'll be doing CrossFit."

I think rather than nitpicking over the use of the name CrossFit in order to maintain the integrity of The Games, focus should be shifted to level of CrossFit standards upheld by the affiliates on a day in, day out basis. If we uphold the movement standards, progressions, foundations of CrossFit through regional affiliate managers/audits it will do more to protect CrossFit than not allowing a little local throwdown to be called a "CrossFit competition."

Just as the brands Kleenex,and Google have produced kleenex and googling; CrossFit needs to be proud of their community, uphold their standards and embrace crossfit the verb.

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