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Trademark Licensing Program
Use of Washington State University Name and Trademarks
The name, Washington State University, and its logo are the exclusive property of the institution and consequently may not be used in support of claims or advertisements made by any outside organization without the permission of the President or designee. (Faculty Manual)
All logos, seals, names, symbols, and slogans associated with Washington State University are trademarks and are the exclusive property of Washington State University.
University stationery may be used only for official University business. (Faculty Manual)
No report or statement relating to private consulting or other services may use the name of Washington State University or be attributed to it. (Faculty Manual)
Washington State University monitors all uses of its trademarks to assure compliance with federal trademark law. Unauthorized uses of Washington State University’s trademarks are subject to civil and criminal penalties. See Compliance below.
The purpose of this policy is to provide information and guidelines to the University community regarding the use of Washington State University trademarks. The overall purposes of the licensing program are to protect Washington State University trademarks and to promote the University.
University authorization is required to reproduce these marks for resale or other commercial purposes. Contact the Trademark Licensing Office for authorization and information; telephone 509-335-2202.
Washington State University reserves the right to approve or disapprove any use of the trademarks, even if not explicitly addressed by the policy or procedures in this section.
This policy applies to faculty, staff, students, academic departments, ad hoc groups, administrative divisions/departments, alumni organizations, informal groups, and student organizations. External suppliers and manufacturers are to comply with their licensing agreements with the University.
This policy does not apply to patents or the use of trademarks registered in association with a patented technology. Contact the Office of Commercialization regarding such issues; telephone 509-335-5526.
The Trademark Licensing Program is responsible for protecting the use of Washington State University trademarks and for licensing commercial use of the marks.
The Trademark Licensing Program and their licensing agent, IMG College Licensing, negotiate and administer licenses with manufacturers that wish to trade upon the University name.
The Trademark Licensing Program ensures that each use of the University’s name is professional, tasteful, and of a quality that reflects positively on the University.
The term trademark includes the following:
- A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
- A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Throughout this policy, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.
The University’s trademarks include but are not limited to: the words “Washington State University,” Washington State Cougars, WSU Cougars, Coug(s), Wazzu, Cougar(s), Apple Cup; the Cougar head logo, the official seal of the University, the Butch Mascot design, and all current and future trademarks, service marks, word marks, designs, or logos used by Washington State University.
- Spirit Mark
Spirit marks are University-approved symbols and words which are used to communicate school spirit. For information and examples, go to the University Communications WSU Brand website (brand.wsu.edu/).
- Academic Signature
The academic signature consists of a combination of the words “Washington State University” and the Cougar head symbol on a crimson shield. The signature serves to identify the University in all forms of communication. For information and examples, go to the University Communications WSU Brand website (brand.wsu.edu/).
Licensing is the process of obtaining legal permission through a contract for the right to use an individual’s or organization’s trademarks. An individual or company who enters into such an agreement is referred to as a licensee.
Suppliers include, but are not limited to: manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives, agents, wholesalers, distributors, printers, embroiderers, and screen printers.
Procedures for Using Trademarks
Washington State University’s trademarks are intended to present a positive image of the University.
Individuals and/or companies must obtain written agreement from the University prior to using the University’s trademarks in the name of a business, logo, advertising services, domain name, or on a product in a way that may state or imply an endorsement. See Commercial Use.
Individuals and/or companies may not counterfeit, copy, or colorably imitate University trademarks, except as allowed under Student Organizations.
Individuals and/or companies are not to use the University’s trademarks in any way that discriminates against any persons or groups based on age, ancestry, belief, color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or in any other way which violates the University’s antidiscrimination policies. See Executive Policy 15.
Commercial use of Washington State University trademarks is defined as items bearing University trademarks which are intended for resale, advertisement, business domain name, or for promotional use.
Items for Resale
Items for resale are products (e.g., cups, sweatshirts, balloons, etc.) bearing University trademarks which are sold in the following ways:
- To campus and private retailers
- To individual customers
- At University sporting events
- On campus by student groups with vending permits
- For fund-raising projects
Items bearing the trademarks of the University and those of a commercial business, such as a restaurant, which are either sold or given away are promotional and considered commercial.
Purchasing Merchandise for Commercial Use
The Trademark Licensing Program has established licensing agreements with a number of suppliers who provide a variety of products. A current list of licensed suppliers is available on the Trademark Licensing website (trademarks.wsu.edu/)
Individuals or groups seeking a supplier are to review this list to determine if the required items are available from one of the current licensees. In instances where items are unavailable from a licensed supplier, consult with the Trademark Licensing Program.
Registered student organizations, as defined in WAC 504-28-020, may use spirit marks for stationery, posters, signs, and banners dealing with the on-campus activities of the organization. (See Spirit Mark above.) Such use of spirit marks must reflect positively on the University and the logos must be reproduced accurately.
Student organizations must obtain approval from the Trademark Licensing Office for all artwork prior to use. Contact the Trademark Licensing Program; telephone 509-335-2202, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student organizations involved in recruitment activities outside the university must incorporate academic signatures and University branding elements into all recruitment materials. Follow the advisory guidelines for academic signatures and branding elements available from the University Communications WSU Brand website (brand.wsu.edu/).
Any item, artwork, or project which is produced as part of a course and which uses University trademarks for noncommercial purposes does not require a license and is royalty exempt.
However, in order to monitor use to assure protection of the trademarks, the Trademark Licensing Program requests that the student or team leader notify the Office of the use of a trademark prior to the start of the project. Trademark Licensing requests that the faculty member conducting the class direct the student to send the notification by e-mail to email@example.com.
Campus departments may purchase products for internal use or as giveaway promotional products bearing University trademarks and the name of the department. Departments are required to use licensed suppliers. A current list of licensed suppliers is available on the Trademark Licensing website (trademarks.wsu.edu/).
Departments are to use the academic signature in most cases. (See Academic Signature above.) If unsure which University marks to use, departments may contact Marketing and Creative Services for advice by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Departments may also view the advisory guidelines from the University Communications WSU Brand website (brand.wsu.edu/).
Sales Restricted to Campus Events
A recognized student group or campus department may sell or give away products, e.g., t-shirts, bearing the marks of the University and the name and logo of the group/department, if the products relate directly to an on-campus activity sponsored by that group.
The licensed suppliers of the products must obtain artwork approval from the Trademark Licensing Program prior to production.
Student groups may use the spirit marks. Campus departments are to use the academic signature in most cases. If unsure which University marks to use, groups and departments may contact Marketing and Creative Services for advice by e-mail to email@example.com.
or may view the advisory guidelines from the University Communications WSU Brand website (brand.wsu.edu/).
The Trademark Licensing Program must grant approval to all outside vendors using University trademarks, even if the vendors are producing items for University-affiliated groups. The University-affiliated organization or department must purchase such merchandise from a licensed vendor to avoid any possibility of trademark infringement. For additional information, contact the Trademark Licensing Program; telephone 509-335-2202, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Product and Art Approval
The Trademark Licensing Program reserves the right to decline any products or art designs that do not promote the goodwill and reputation of the University.
Individuals and suppliers who use Washington State University trademarks without permission from the Trademark Licensing Program or their agent, IMG College Licensing, are subject to:
- Cease-and-desist notice,
- Seizure of all unapproved merchandise, and/or
- Legal proceeding.
IMPORTANT: Criminal penalties for misuse of trademarks are provided for in RCW 9.16.035 and may range from a misdemeanor to a class C felony.
Trademark Protection for University Programs
If an internal campus program is seeking trademark protection, the department is to complete the questionnaire available on the Trademark Licensing website (trademarks.wsu.edu/) before contacting the trademark office.