Are there restrictions on who can produce items using UW trademarks?
Yes. Only companies that are officially licensed by the University are permitted to produce items using University trademarks. Approximately 375 companies are licensed with the University. The Office of Trademark Licensing can assist you in providing information on licensed companies.
What happens if a trademark is used without a license?
It is in the best interest of the University to legally protect its image through the trademark licensing program. Unauthorized use of University insignia may infringe upon the University’s trademark rights, punishable by law (15 U.S.C. 1125 and Chapter 132, Wisconsin Statutes).
The University must enforce its legal rights, or ultimately it will lose the ability to control the use of its indicia.
What products may be licensed?
The University will consider most products. However, no product will be licensed without the approval of the UW–Madison’s trademark licensing director.
The following products will not be licensed:
- Alcoholic Beverages—Distilled alcohol liquors, wines and malt liquors.
- Inherently Dangerous Products—Such as firearms, explosives, and fuels.
- Obscene or Disparaging Products—Including, but not limited to, nude photographs, caricature poster art or designs that would tend to lower the reputation or degrade the goodwill of the University as represented by the trademarks.
- Sexually Suggestive Products—Including, but not limited to, inappropriate slogans imprinted on clothing and the configuration of certain novelty items.
- Health Related Products—All types.
- Business Names and/or Logos—All types.
By assuring that products carrying UW–Madison marks are of high quality and good taste, misrepresentation of the University and its reputation as a world-class university is prevented. The scrutiny of products also assures that the liabilities associated with products are minimized by not approving dangerous items.
What rules apply to the use of indicia by University entities?
- University campus departments, camps, clubs and organizations are exempt from paying royalties if the merchandise purchased is for internal use and paid for out of a department budget. Internal use items are usually office products. Apparel items generally are not for internal use.
- University campus departments, camps, clubs or organizations are not exempt from royalties if the items are intended for resale, which means that individuals pay for the item or price of item is built into a fee.
- University campus departments, camps, clubs and organizations may use University marks to promote their activities (i.e., posters advertising functions, brochures, stationery, etc.) but the Office of Trademark Licensing must approve all usage.
- Purchases must be made from licensed or approved vendors to ensure quality, consistency and appropriateness of design on the goods. This is true even if purchases are exempt from royalties.
- All uses of University indicia, whether for internal consumption, club shirts, camps, departmental use, etc., should be reviewed by the director of trademark licensing to ensure quality and consistency of product and application and proper use of designations.
- Products or promotions that refer to current student-athletes enrolled at the University will not be approved unless the product or promotion is in compliance with NCAA regulations.
- All University departments, clubs or organizations that produce publications shall require that advertisers of products bearing University indicia in publications or in athletic or special event programs must be licensed.
- Promotional programs developed by departments, clubs or organizations will conform to University promotional and/or sponsorship licensing policies and procedures.
What rules apply to media or informational use of indicia?
- References to the University indicia by news media for informational purposes to identify the University are not subject to the licensing program.
- A reference to University indicia in advertising by retailers or manufacturers requires the University’s approval, as specified in the license agreement.
- Retailers or licensed manufacturers may use pictures in advertisements showing licensed products with University indicia for sale without requiring approval.
- Schedule cards or posters that include the University’s name, but no logos or slogans, are not subject to the licensing fee and are considered for informational use. Any use of University indicia, other than the name, shall require licensing, although the University may elect to waive royalties if it receives other benefits, such as publicity, from such use.
- Schedule cards, posters, calendars, etc., which are used to generate revenues through the sale of advertising, require licensing, the University’s approval of advertisers, and a royalty on the sale of advertising.
- Photographs of campus scenes or monuments are considered informational use and are not subject to the licensing program unless they feature University indicia and are exploited commercially. The use of such photographs on commercial products requires approval by the University and may require licensure. Each item will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Photographs taken at athletic events may only be used for news and editorial purposes. Photographs of former University student-athletes may not sold without their consent and written permission.
- Questionable uses of University marks on schedule cards, posters, calendars, photographs, etc., should be analyzed on a case-by-case base to determine if infringement has occurred.
- With the exception of certain businesses that were established prior to the University’s licensing program in 1988, private and/or corporate businesses are not allowed to use University indicia in their business name.
- The University of Wisconsin, UW, Bucky, Badger or Badgers cannot be used by private and/or corporate businesses in the sale of commercial products or advertising. University indicia cannot be incorporated into off-campus business telephone numbers, internet addresses or internet domain names.
- The University does not permit the use of its identifying graphics by any other institution or business. The director of trademark licensing can make exception to this policy on a case-by-case basis.
Are royalties always required?
- The University concurs in the basic concept that no user of its indicia should be exempt from its licensing program and will make every good faith effort to follow this basic concept.
- The University reserves the right to grant exemptions to any user, if circumstances warrant that it would be in the best interests of the University and good public relations. The director of trademark licensing will make any exemption decision.
- Special rules apply to the use of indicia for internal University purposes.
- Artwork sold for individual display shall not require licensing, i.e., a painting to be framed or individually produced sculptures; however, note cards, posters, or art prints bearing University marks are not exempt.
- Programs for athletic and special events on campus are not subject to licensing regardless of whether they are given away or sold. Advertisements appearing in the programs, however, must follow advertising and licensing guidelines.
What rules apply to corporate sponsorship agreements?
- Corporate sponsorships are formed when an institution grants to another entity, or sponsor, the rights to associate with the institution, or an event conducted by the institution, to indirectly enhance the sale of its products or services and directly promote the institution or event through its association with the sponsor. Sponsorship may take many forms. Generally, the sponsor is willing to pay dollars or provide products or services in the exchange for the right to associate itself commercially with the institution or event. Corporate sponsorship contracts, when negotiated by or through campus departments or organizations, may include special promotional opportunities for the sponsor.
- Some commercial use of University indicia may be allowed where a sponsor will indirectly enhance the sale of its product or services and directly promote the institution or event through its association with the University. This does not, however, allow unrestricted use of the indicia. Each use is to be individually reviewed for quality, appropriateness, and image projection by the Office of Trademark Licensing.
- Each corporate sponsorship contract should spell out the extent to which the sponsor may use University indicia, including, but not limited to:
- Type and value of products offered;
- Extent of distribution;
- Geographic area of distribution;
- Specific time period of distribution;
- Guidelines for proper use of UW indicia, including the need for approval; and
- University marks must be at least 50 percent larger than the sponsors marks when use of sponsors marks or name is used in connection with any of the University’s name or indicia.
What rules apply to promotional license agreements?
- Promotional license agreements are made in conjunction with the University athletic marketing department.
- Promotional license agreements shall be signed with licensees who desire to:
- market products to be used as premiums (licensed articles given free or sold at less than the usual selling price for the purpose of increasing the sale, or promoting or publicizing any other product, service or organization); or
- utilize indicia in promotions (any activity by licensee involving the presentation of indicia through advertising, publicity or other means of exposure in or on licensed articles, point-of-purchase displays, prints, electronic or any other medium).
- Each promotional license will be considered individually, separate and apart from any other promotion run by the licensee.
- Rights and fees may be charged in addition to a 14% royalty on the promotional product.
- Products bearing University indicia on which advertising is sold (calendars, posters, etc.), if approved, will be treated as a promotional license.
- A commercial entity’s name or logo should not be used with the marks of the University where it might appear to show a direct affiliation with the UW, except within sponsorship guidelines.
What rules apply to manufacturer license agreements?
- Manufacturer license agreements are typically arranged through the Fermata Partners.
- As a general rule, the University does not grant exclusive licenses for a specified type of product. Under certain circumstances, the University may consider an exclusive license, but such would require review and written approval by the University.
- The University prefers to license the manufacturer of the product. In some cases, the manufacturer is the entity that adds the value of the indicia to the product and sells the product through classic retail channels. Manufacturers are subject to the standard non-exclusive license.
- The University may allow distributors to become licensed under strict guidelines.