Howard University’s Trademark Licensing program works to promote, enhance, and elevate the image of Howard University by authorizing the use of the University’s name and logos on high quality and tasteful merchandise.
Howard University requires that all individuals, organizations, departments and companies, both internal and external, obtain prior approval before using any Howard indicia. This includes all names or logos that are registered trademarks of the University, as well as any use of University color schemes in combination with facts or working that implies an association with the University.
Using Howard University’s Trademarks
All Howard University Departments and Recognized Student Groups are required to obtain prior approval to use the University’s name, marks, logos, seals or symbols in any commercial or non-commercial uses. Howard Departments and Student groups are required to purchase Howard Branded merchandise from officially licensed vendors of the University.
Items that will be used internally, such as by members of an office, group or as a giveaway, are exempt from royalties. Items for resale (including fundraisers) required the vendor to pay royalties to the University on the products.
When requesting permission, complete the Art Approval Request Form, indicating how the product will be used and provide the artwork/design.
Our Licensing Partner
Our Licensing Program is administered by the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises in partnership with IMG College Licensing (CLC). CLC is the nation’s leading collegiate licensing and marketing representative. Formed in 1981, CLC assists collegiate licensors in protecting and controlling the use of their logos through trademark licensing. Their consortium consists of more than 200 universities, bowl games, conferences, the NCAA and the Heisman Trophy. Based in Atlanta, CLC provides its member institutions the expertise, resources and experience necessary to maximize licensing revenue potential through the power of consolidation. For more information about CLC please click here.
What is a Trademark?
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 protect the rights to it, simply by using or displaying a mark acquires automatic trademark rights to the owner.
In order to use the University’s marks, a vendor must enter into a licensing agreement with Howard. A license is a written legal agreement between the owner of the Trademark (Licensor) and a manufacturer/vendor. This license must in place before use of the marks.
Royalties & Infringement
Royalties generated through the sales of collegiate merchandise go back to the colleges and universities for scholarship and university development opportunities. Therefore, it is important to stop the sale of unlicensed merchandise to protect the collegiate institutions involved and the integrity of the trademarks that has been established over time. If you think that you have come across a product in the marketplace that you believe is not licensed or any other infringing use of a college trademark or logo by any individual, company, or organization, visit CLC’s website to make an anonymous report.
Tips for Purchasing Howard University Merchandise
- All officially licensed merchandise should display the officially licensed collegiate product hologram somewhere on the product or hangtag
- The merchandise should depict the Howard University logos and marks in a tasteful and appropriate manner. If it is distasteful or inappropriate, the merchandise is unlikely to have been licensed by Howard.
- The tag on the garment should be intact. A torn or missing tag is evidence of a second-hand garment, one that probably would not meet the stringent quality standards in place by Howard.
- All merchandise should bear the name of the manufacturer somewhere on the product, either in the form of a hangtag, a neck label, or screen-printed directly on the garment.
- All merchandise should have the appropriate trademark designations (i.e., ®, ™) next to a specific name or design. Trademark infringement violates state and federal laws, including criminal laws. Penalties vary depending on the extent of the violation, but can include confiscation of the product and equipment used to make it, fines, and even jail time for more serious violations. Confiscated product is eventually destroyed or donated to charitable organizations.
Submit Art Approval Request
If you have your design ready and product and vendor selected, you can complete the Art Approval Request Form now. Once submitted, our office will review and provide you with one of the following decisions:
- Approved with Changes (minor edits to your artwork is needed)