Frequently Asked Questions
Trademarks and Service Marks
What is a trademark or service mark? Accordion Closed
A trademark is generally a name, word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or product 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 goods. By registering trademarks or service marks, either at a state or federal level, a company or organization establishes the rights to exclusive use of their indicia (name, logos, graphics, marks, etc.) and limits or prohibits use by others. Throughout informational materials about NAU’s University Trademark Licensing Program, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.
Why does NAU care who uses its trademarks or how? Accordion Closed
NAU must control and monitor the use of its trademarks or risk losing the right to use them as unique identifiers of Northern Arizona University. NAU has a compelling interest in controlling the use of its trademarks for other reasons as well. These include, but are not limited to:
- Protecting NAU’s name and ensuring that its use, across all units of the university, is compatible with the Northern Arizona University’s goodwill and reputation
- Ensuring that any products or services bearing NAU trademarks are of high quality and are used tastefully and only in connection with products and services with which the institution has chosen to be identified
- Preventing misleading or inaccurate portrayals of NAU’s relationship to others or to activities, and preventing others from taking advantage of the goodwill the institution has developed and which is symbolized by its trademarks
- Ensuring products and services bearing NAU’s trademarks protect the integrity and reputation of the institution, maintain and build upon the goodwill of the institution, and promote support for and increase awareness of the institution, its mission and goals
When should I use the trademark symbols TM or ®? Accordion Closed
The ® and ™ symbols provide public notice of exclusive ownership of the related word or symbol. The ™ symbol is recognized as an abbreviation for “trademark” and should be used for words, symbols, artwork, etc. that give reference to Northern Arizona University. The ™ symbol is included in conjunction with NAU marks and verbiage to express the university’s intent of exclusive ownership over those indicia. The ® symbol denotes that the word, symbol or image is federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
These symbols must be used on all items, regardless of distribution method or intended use, whether for internal or external use, including but not limited to:
- Clothing, uniforms and other apparel
- Novelties, gifts, plaques, awards and other branded merchandise
- Pens, keychains, water bottles, tote bags or other giveaway items
Print- or web-based material produced by the university for the purpose of official university business (letterhead, business cards, brochures, etc.) may omit the symbols. However, when space allows, the following disclaimer should appear, “The words “Northern Arizona University” and the identifying marks used on this document are official trademarks of Northern Arizona University and may not be reproduced without express written permission of the university.”
For guidance, contact the University Trademark and Licensing Manager. Exceptions for omission of the trademark symbols granted by the Licensing Director are offered on a case-by-case basis and do not constitute a change in policy.
Why can’t I change a trademark to fit my needs? Accordion Closed
NAU trademarks and service marks are the intellectual property of the Arizona Board of Regents and are maintained by the NAU Trademark Licensing department. To maintain brand integrity and to ensure current and future protections under state and federal trademark law, NAU trademarks may not be altered in any way without the express written approval of University Marketing and the Trademark Licensing department. Merchandise produced with altered logos, where the express permission of the parties listed above was not provided, may be considered counterfeit and subject to all available legal remedies, including the seizure of merchandise.
What is a license to produce NAU products? Accordion Closed
A license to produce NAU products is an agreement that is formed between the university, its licensing agent, IMG College Licensing, and the company producing products bearing the marks of NAU.
Who needs a license? Accordion Closed
All vendors or manufacturers wishing to produce items including NAU trademarks, regardless of distribution method or intended use, are required to obtain a license with NAU’s licensing agency, IMG College Licensing (IMGCL).
NAU departments, groups, and registered student organizations may not assign rights or otherwise grant permission to any other entity for use of NAU’s trademarks for any purpose without prior review and approval by NAU’s Trademark and Licensing Manager.
How do I become a licensee? Accordion Closed
Companies wishing to apply for a license to use Northern Arizona University trademarks must complete an online application, which can be accessed here. Additional information including details about each license type, insurance requirements, and additional fee information can be reviewed here.
For questions regarding the application and licensing process please contact Susan Smith at Susan.Smith@img.com.
Who qualifies as a licensee? Accordion Closed
A licensee is a company producing a product with NAU trademarks/logos who has been given permission to do so, via attainment of a license with IMG College Licensing (IMGCL) for Northern Arizona University.
What is the licensing process? Accordion Closed
NAU trademark licensing evaluates each product idea, and the office must grant approval of the completed product and designs before any merchandise can be produced for retail sale. This process ensures that every product bearing the marks of Northern Arizona University will be of a high quality, and protect all parties, including the university, from future liability.
Campus use of Trademarks
Are campus departments or student groups 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.)? Accordion Closed
Yes, in order for the university to maintain and protect its value, permission must be obtained from the University Trademark and Licensing Manger and a licensed vendor must be used.
Can students, individuals or businesses sell products associated with the university’s names/marks/logos on campus, on game days or otherwise? Accordion Closed
Sales of any product related to the university are prohibited on campus with the exception of the NAU Bookstore.
Does an individual or vendor need to be licensed if they are not using trademarked logos/names/marks owned by the university? Accordion Closed
Yes. If a product uses the university’s colors, facts or words that imply an association with the university, that product must be approved and the vendor selling the product must be licensed by the university.
May students, faculty, staff, alumni or fans use NAU marks on personal Web sites and other personal items? Accordion Closed
These requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Permission must first be obtained before using any Northern Arizona University mark.
How can I tell if a product is officially licensed? Accordion Closed
Officially licensed merchandise will include an “Officially Licensed Collegiate Product” label or hologram. This label assures you that the merchandise on which they are affixed has been approved for sale by the university and IMG College Licensing.
How does NAU respond to trademark infringement? Accordion Closed
When necessary, NAU aggressively pursues infringement through legal channels, including, but not restricted to, letters of “cease and desist” and lawsuits. Suspected trademark infringement should be reported immediately to the University Trademark and Licensing Manager. Please include photos when possible or the URL if the image has been used on the internet.
**Report inappropriate use or possible infringements here.**
What is IMG College Licensing ? Accordion Closed
IMG College Licensing (IMGCL) is the licensing representative/agent for NAU. As the university’s representative, IMGCL is responsible for administering the licensing program, including processing licensing applications, collection and distribution of royalty payments, enforcing trademarks, and pursuing new market opportunities for the university.