GOV-004: Use of the University's Federally Registered Trademark

Date: 09/16/2014 Status: Final
Last Revised: 12/16/2021
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Applies To:

Academic Division, the Medical Center, and University-Associated Organizations.

Reason for Policy:

This policy describes the general guidelines for using the University's federally registered trademark. The University maintains a licensing program to:

  • protect and control the use of the University name, nicknames, trademarks, service marks, seals, indicia, logos, mottoes, and mascots;
  • promote the image of the University to the public as well as to the University community;
  • establish a cooperative relationship with licensees and to assist in developing a market for officially licensed products of the University of Virginia; and
  • provide unrestricted revenues in support of University programs.
Policy Summary:

The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia owns all of the names, nicknames, trademarks, services marks, seals, indicia, logos and mascots which relate to the University of Virginia or which members of the public reasonably believe relate to the University of Virginia. A licensing program has been established so that the public properly identifies and associates University logos on products bearing the institution's marks.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Logo:

    A graphic representation or symbol of the University’s name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.

  • Trademark:

    Any name, symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by the University to designate institutional goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure its exclusive use by its owner.

Policy Statement:

A licensing program has been established so that the public properly identifies and associates University logos on products bearing the institution's marks. University Communications administers the licensing program. The Office of Licensing and Trademark maintains the official inventory of University names, indicia and logos; approves and registers any new marks, logos, etc.; and maintains a list of licensees authorized to manufacture and distribute goods bearing the name, indicia, or logos of the University of Virginia.

All of the names, nicknames, trademarks, services marks, seals, indicia, logos and mascots which relate to the University of Virginia or which members of the public reasonably believe relate to the University of Virginia are owned by The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. The University has registered many of its names, nicknames, marks, indicia and logos with the state and at the federal level.

The University of Virginia Bookstore (Bookstore) has been designated an independent licensee. The Bookstore approves its own UVa logo designs and has the authority to license its own merchandise for sale in its retail location(s) in conjunction with the University’s designated licensing agent.

  1. General Guidelines:
    Merchandise noted on the product list in Section 3a is specifically covered by this licensing policy where the University's name, indicia, logo, etc., are used. Changes in this list may occur. An updated merchandise listing may be obtained from University Communications.

    All University outlets are included in the licensing program. Therefore, all goods described on the product list using the University's name, indicia, logo or other official marks must be manufactured and distributed by licensees. All University-Associated Organizations involved in the sale of goods are subject to this policy. A list of licensees is maintained by the Office of Licensing and Trademark and only licensed goods can be held for resale. Goods covered by the policy and sold on Grounds, through University sales outlets, or through University-Associated Organizations must be manufactured and distributed by a licensee.

    The University has entered into a contractual agreement with a licensing company to help administer the licensing program on a national basis. The licensing company acts as the University's agent to:

    • License one or more of the University's indicia with the marketing of various articles of merchandise described on the product list; and
    • To conduct special promotions.

    Any commercial use of University indicia in any manner shall be approved and governed by the licensing program.

    1. Program Revenues:
      Program revenues are to be allocated annually at year-end as follows:
      • To cover the actual cost of administration in accordance with regular University budgeting procedures;
      • 50% of net revenue after the annual cost of administration to the Department of Athletics; and
      • 50% of net revenue after the annual cost of administration to the University's General Fund.

      Revenues distributed to the Department of Athletics and the University's general fund will be subjected to the regular budget process.

  2. Guidelines to Administer the Program:
    The Office of Licensing and Trademark, a member of the Association of Collegiate Licensing Administrators (ACLA), is responsible for administering the licensing program for the University. The Licensing Director must approve all additions and/or revisions to the licensing program guidelines as well as any additions and/or changes to official University indicia.

    To help manage the licensing program, the University has retained the services of a licensing company. The services they provide include:

    • Knowing potential licensees (suppliers and manufacturers),
    • Providing licensing information to potential licensees,
    • Executing the licensing agreement with licensees,
    • Notifying retail outlets about the licensing program and recruiting their vendors,
    • Finding potential licensees from other schools and markets,
    • Attending manufacturers' trade shows,
    • Contacting local retailers to get their support,
    • Providing contact lists of current licensees to retail buyers,
    • Assisting in promotions such as with internal audiences (faculty, staff, students, and alumni) and the general public; helping with press releases and public presentations,
    • Searching for infringers,
    • Establishing a series of "Cease" letters, ending with intent to file suit,
    • Having "Officially Licensed Product" hangtags placed on licensed goods for sale,
    • Insuring timely payments by licensees,
    • Conducting on-site audits of licensees, and
    • Developing a national image by representing 200 of the nation’s top colleges, universities, bowl games, athletic conferences, the Heisman Trophy, and the NCAA.

    The Office of Licensing and Trademark proposes an annual operating budget for the licensing activity to the Department of Athletics and to the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer as required. Annual operating expenses are covered from licensing revenues. Net revenues (after operating costs) are distributed to the Department of Athletics and the University.

    Any products which carry an approved mark or logo (or any deviation of University of Virginia indicia which would create confusion in the minds of the consumer that the product was originated or sponsored by the University) are covered by the licensing program. Products which support the academic mission of the institution, and products ordered by University departments with a purchase order for internal consumption (i.e., not sold at retail) shall be exempt from royalties; but the manufacturer must obtain the University's permission to use the indicia. More specifically, exempt items are listed as follows:

    • Spiral notebooks,
    • Filler paper,
    • Legal pads,
    • Academic and calendar year datebooks (assignment books),
    • Desk calendars,
    • Portfolios with and without pockets (folders),
    • Pad holders with and without pads,
    • Examination books, and
    • Binders.

    Many of the University trademarks and logos have been federally registered as well as with the state.

  3. Enforcement of the Licensing Program:
    There are two phases:

    • Internal - participation by sales departments within the University is essential and will depend on support from vice presidential areas.
    • External - participation by commercial sales outlets will be checked periodically by the Office of Licensing and Trademark and the contracted licensing company as part of the regular administrative responsibility for the program.

    The Office of Licensing and Trademark will develop an ongoing educational program to make local and regional vendors and consumers fully aware of the University's licensing program benefits and requirements.

    Product approval or disapproval must be communicated in writing to the licensing company within ten business days of receipt of the product from the licensing company or from the licensee.

    It has been determined by the University that the following products will NOT normally be licensed:

    • Alcoholic beverages and statements promoting the use of alcoholic beverages,
    • Bathroom articles (toilet seats, toilet paper, etc.),
    • Sexually suggestive statements or articles,
    • Statements infringing upon other schools,
    • Political, sexist, racist, religious products and/or statements,
    • Items of poor quality in relation to the proposed sale price,
    • Products bearing the name or likeness of or otherwise promoting a current University student-athlete,
    • Any item not meeting minimum standards of quality and good taste or having abnormal product liability possibilities (athletic equipment, food stuff, products that due to content are unusually short-lived) as determined by the Licensing Director.

    Licensing fees are a percentage of the manufacturer's selling price on items licensed for retail sales. In promotions, a higher royalty rate shall be charged on premiums. An additional-rights-fee may be charged depending upon the scope of the promotion and the amount of revenue projected from premiums used in the promotion. Certain promotions may be exempted from either royalties or rights fees based on other considerations received by the University through sponsorship or contributions. The licensing company should be made aware of such exceptions.

  1. Product List:
Category Product
1 Bags:
Back Packs
Beverage (Thermo)
Carrying and Luggage
Special Purpose
2 Bedroom Accessories:
3 Belt Buckles (with or without belt)
4 Blankets:
5 Button:
Lapel (Enamel)
6 Wall Calendars
7 Car Accessories:
License Plate Frames
8 Floor Coverings:
9 Christmas Accessories:
Tree Ornaments
10 Timepieces:
11 Toilet Goods:
12 Electronic Devices:
Musical Devices
Ceiling Fans
13 Furniture (Indoor & Outdoor):
14 Headwear:
15 Helmets: (special authorization)
16 Illumination Devices:
17 Wall Hangings:
Picture Frames
18 Beverage Containers:
Pewter Mugs
Ceramic Mugs
Temperature Retainer Vessels
Insulator Covers
19 Pillows/Cushions
20 Plastic Containers:
21 Playing Cards
22 Precious Metal:
Tie Tack
Jefferson Cups not engraved with the official seal
23 Shoes
24 Shoe Laces
25 Soap (Assorted)
26 Stadium Seats
27 Stationery Products
28 Statuary and Artwork
29 Transfers/Decals
30 Sunglasses
31 Bathroom, Kitchen or Cooking Accessories:
32 Toys, Games, Stuffed Animals
33 Umbrellas
34 Wallets and Purses
35 Wastebaskets/Metal Trays
36 Writing Instruments
37 Sewing Kits & Needlepoint
38 Wearing Apparel:
Fleece Items
Athletic Jerseys
Warm-ups (non- fleece)
Placarded Collared Shirts
Non-collared Shirts (non-fleece)
Infant Sets
39 Rainwear
40 Knitwear:
Socks (see also headwear)
41 Food Items
42 Novelty:
Key Chains
  1. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of Licensing and Trademark.

Related Information:

University Brand Guidelines

Major Category: Governance
Next Scheduled Review: 09/16/2017
Approved by, Date: Policy Review Committee, 09/16/2014
Revision History: University-Related Foundation changed to UAO 5/10/22; Added Compliance section 12/16/21.
Supersedes (previous policy): XV.G.5, Using the University's Federally Registered Trademark.