FAQ

Q: What is a trademark?

A: As defined by the US Patents & Trademarks Office, “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 trademark need not be registered in order to have protectable rights to it, simply by using or displaying a mark acquires automatic trademark rights to the owner.


Q: Who must be licensed?

A: Anyone or any business/organization wishing to use the University’s trademarks or verbiage on any product must have a license before offering the product/goods for sale. This also includes sale to University departments, campus organizations and student recognized organizations. Premiums, promotions and advertising are included as well. For more information on this, please visit Use SU Trademarks.


Q: What are the benefits of a licensing program?

A: A licensing program exists to protect the name and marks of Syracuse University and to enhance the image of the University through the administration of licensing agreements authorizing the use of the marks on high quality merchandise that aligns with the Syracuse brand. It is also the responsibility of the office to insure that the University receives the appropriate market value for the use of its trademarks and to actively enforce the unauthorized use of marks/names, logos and likenesses of the University.


Q: What is a trademark license?

A: A license is a written legal agreement between the owner of the trademark (licensor) and a manufacturer/vendor (licensee). The licensor grants permission to the licensee to affix the licensor’s trademark(s) on a product(s). This license must be in place before use of the marks.


Q: What if my item is a publication or brochure that I wish to use the University’s trademarks on?

A: The trademarks of the University may not be used on publications, brochures, advertising or miscellaneous print material without permission from the University. Please contact this office directly for more information.


Q: How do I obtain a license?

A: The University partners with the Collegiate Licensing Company to represent their licensing program. Please contact them directly.


Q: What kinds of products cannot be licensed?

A: Weapons/firearms, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages or specifically related products are not appropriate items for licensing. Other products will be considered; however, the University has the right to decline any item.


Q: Are Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) or campus departments required to obtain permission to use the University names/marks/logos on items used as giveaways, fundraisers or for internal use (shirts for staff, plaques, etc.)?

A: Yes, in order for the University to maintain and protect its value, permission must be obtained from this office and a licensed vendor must be used. Please request permission from this office.


Q: May students, faculty, staff, alumni or fans use University marks on personal websites?

A: Yes, this is permissible as long as no items are being sold and the site is used to support the University in a positive manner. You must first request permission from this office.


Q: May public or private schools use any of the University’s marks as their mascot on uniforms, buildings, stadiums or for booster club fundraisers?

A: We are always complimented when a school wishes to use one of our marks as their mascot but our policy does not allow our marks to be used by any other business or educational institution including public or private schools. In setting this policy, many factors were taken into consideration including product liability, control of how the marks are used and who manufactures the product, and the policies of our peer institutions throughout the United States. For more information on this subject, please contact this office directly.


Q: Are any sales exempt from royalties?

A: Licensed vendors do not pay royalties on products being sold to a campus department for internal use and paid for out of a department budget. There also may be situations where a campus organization or RSO’s order will be royalty-free. For an order to be considered for a royalty waiver, the appropriate form must be completed. To obtain this form, please contact this office directly.


Q: Who needs to use an official licensee?

A: If your order will include a University mark in the design, it must be purchased by an official licensee. If you wish to use someone that is not on the list, please contact this office for assistance.


Q: How does the artwork approval process work?

A: If you have completed the licensing process through CLC, you will receive information on submitting artwork through their interactive website. This site manages the entire artwork approval process over the Internet. If you are a local screen printer or other licensee, you may use the direct art approval process by emailing mjdonabe@syr.edu. All artwork must be approved before production begins.


Q: How can I tell if a product is officially-licensed?

A: Look for the Officially-Licensed Collegiate label or hologram. This label assures you that the merchandise on which they are affixed has been approved for sale by the University and CLC. For more information about the CLC Hologram program, please visit Logos On Demand.


Q: How would someone obtain images or videotape of former athletes, events or facilities?

A: Syracuse University’s licensing rights for athletic copyrighted video, film and still images, as well as its trademarks for broadcast and non-broadcast usage, are exclusively represented by XOS Digital.


Q: May a business, corporation or outside entity use the name or marks of the University in their name or as interior design?

A: The University’s policy does not allow its marks to be used for commercial or promotional advertising purposes without prior approval; this approval is granted based upon each situation. The University’s name and/or marks may also not be used in any way that could state or imply an endorsement. The marks/names/logos may not be used as part of a business name or within the interior design of a business and its building and/or location without prior approval. Approval is not always granted for any of the above uses. For more information on this subject please contact this office directly.


Q: How do I obtain SU license plates?

A: Please visit Order Custom Plates for more information about obtaining NYS custom license plates.