Help with theft of nonprofit’s program / trademark

Hello, I work with a volunteer-based nonprofit that has had an annual event for a number of years. The even has a name and serves mainly specific audience — it's a very specific/branded event that this nonprofit puts on. There is some dissension amongst the planning committee, all of whom are volunteers and most of which has no affiliation with the org, and some of them are talking about spinning the program off on their own and creating their own 501c3 for just the program (they want to be able to exclude people from attending the event and the board won't let them). The org board doesn't want this and sees the program as belonging to the org.

Can the volunteers take this program and its name? Nothing is trademarked at this point – I assume if the org gets the name trademarked then the volunteers can't take the program, but can they take it without a trademark? I don't think so… but want to know more before talking with the board again.

Thank you!

submitted by /u/glassedupclowen
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