Trademark Licensing

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.

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 and logos that are registered trademarks of the University, as well as any use of University color schemes.

Office of Auxiliary Enterprises
Service Center
2244 10th Street NW
Suite 219
Washington, DC 20059


Using Howard University's Trademarks

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. University departments and student groups are required to purchase University 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) require the vendor to pay royalties to the University on the products. 

The Trademark License Agreement requires that the licensees submit all proposed uses of the logos and word marks to the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises. Additionally, all designs using the University’s marks must be submitted to the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises for approval prior to production. When requesting permission, complete the Art Approval Request Form, indicating how the product will be used and provide the artwork/design.

Our Licensing Partner

The University’s Licensing Program is administered by the Office 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, conference, 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.

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 does not need to 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 the University. A license is a written legal agreement between the owner of the Trademark (Licensor) and a manufacturer/vendor. This license must be 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. 

General Guidelines

Use of the Howard University trademarks must be consistent with the Howard University Identity Guidelines. Consistent use is important for the legal protection of the marks and to promote a consistent brand message. Only authorized licensed vendors may produce consumer products, including promotional items (giveaway items) that include university trademarks.

The university graphic identity standards must be followed as it relates to colleges, schools, institutes, centers, departments, offices, or other university organizations. Student organizations formally recognized by the Office of Student Affairs can use select University and athletic marks in conjunction with the organization name and design of promotional products. Club sports teams recognized by University Athletics are authorized to use select Howard University Athletic marks in conjunction with team names, uniform designs and the creation of promotional products. For more information on trademark guidelines, click here


  • Use of Howard and Athletic marks for merchandise and promotional items must be approved by the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises.
  • Product restrictions: University marks are prohibited for use on tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, sexually explicit graphics or descriptions and in conjunction with other third-party trademarks unless authorized by the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises.

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 the University. 
  • 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 the University.
  • 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 designation (i.e., ®, TM) 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 violation. 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, have your University approved licensee submit art for approval through Brand Manager. When requesting permission for approval of non-university marks and logos, complete the Art Approval Request Form, indicating how the product will be used and provide the artwork/design.

The artwork approval portal is temporarily not open to new artwork. We are in the process of developing defined standards for future artwork submittals. We apologize for any convenience. Standards will be provided soon. Licensees may continue to submit artwork for approval through Brand Manager 360.

Once submitted, our office, in coordination with University Marketing, will review and provide one of the following decisions:

  • Approved
  • Approved with Changes (minor edits to your artwork is needed)
  • Disapproved

Approved Licensees by Name

List of approved licensees by name (PDF)

View PDF

Approved Licensees by Product

List of approved licensees by product (PDF)

View PDF

Licensees Detail

Approved Licensees in Detail, List of approved licensees by address (PDF), View PDF

View PDF

Become a Licensee

Find out how to become a licensee.

Learn More

Trademark Licensing FAQs

What is licensing?

Licensing is necessary when a third-party desire to associate itself commercially with Howard University by using any trademark, trade name, logo, symbol, seal, mascot, or slogan that is associated with or refers to the University.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is defined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as “a word or 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.” It is protected by law against improper use by persons or entities other than the owner of the trademark.

Who monitors the Trademark License Program?

Monitoring the Trademark License Program is the responsibility of the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises that acts as the legal advisor to the licensing program. The Office of Auxiliary Enterprises assists with contracting, compliance, enforcement and litigation as necessary to protect University marks. All license agreements require the licensee to provide a current certificate of insurance that names the University as an additional insured. The insurance limits and responsibilities are set forth in the trademark license agreement.

Why does the program need to be managed?

The appropriate use and protection of Howard’s marks help preserve the integrity of the University and the respect it enjoys throughout the global community. Any proposed use of the logos or namemarks for retail and giftware must carry approval from the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises. The use and design approval requirements are intended to protect the integrity of the marks and the reputation of the University. Auxiliary Enterprises reserves the right to engage an independent service to audit the licensee’s records to monitor the sales and royalties.

Why is licensing revenue necessary?

To promote and protect the University’s image and comply with federal trademark laws. Howard University must approve any use of its trademarks. Licensing protects the University’s reputation, good name, and image by permitting only appropriate uses and assuring that only quality products bear the University’s name, initials or logos.

Licensing also generates income to support the operational goals of Licensing and Trademarks and enhances the quality of life for students, student athletes, faculty and staff.

Where do licensing revenues go?

Annual licensing revenue is generated from royalties on product sales and marketing fees, and other University promotional fees. All licensing revenue is deposited int a Howard University account. 

What is required of a trademark licensee?

The trademark license agreement requires that the licensee submit all proposed uses of the trademarks for approval prior to such use. An exhibit of each licensee’s agreement lists the products on which the trademarks will be used. Any additions or other modifications to this list must be requested in writing and approved by auxiliary enterprises. 

Who needs to be licensees?

A license must be obtained by anyone who uses the name or marks of Howard University for a commercial purpose. Non-commercial uses of Howard University trademarks may not require a license but do require permission. The use of a Howard University mark in advertisements, motion pictures, and on promotional items also require a licensing fee.

Are there any royalty exemptions?

Licensed products used for internal Howard University consumption or internal giveaways are not subject to a royalty fee. The products, however, are required to be licensed. All items sold on campus to external buyers (including alumni) must be licensed and are subject to royalties.

What is the approval process for the use of University marks?

The Trademark License Agreement requires that the licensees submit all proposed uses of the logos and word marks to the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises. Additionally, all designs using the University’s marks must be submitted to the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises for approval prior to production. 

Where can I find complete guidelines regarding the Trademark Licensing Policies?

To review the complete 122-page HU Identity Guide’s and Trademark Licensing Policies, including font types, approved PMS colors, correct photography uses, and more, refer to

Where can I find a list of approved licensees?

Here is a list of approved licensees.

How does a customer tell whether merchandise is licensed?

The “Officially Licensed Collegiate Products” label should appear on all approved and licensed merchandise. This label is for approved and authorized use only and signifies that the merchandise to which it is attached has been approved for sale by CLC and its client universities. The unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or use of this label is prohibited.

The presence of this label ensures that alumni, students, fans, and supporters know they are buying a product of quality and authenticity that represents the goodwill of Howard. The label is your assurance that merchandise has been approved by the institute and that royalties from your purchase will benefit the University.

Any merchandise not bearing these labels for institutions represented by CLC, but using the marks of the institution, may constitute an infringement of trademark laws, punishable by law.

How does Howard University respond to trademark infringement?

Howard University aggressively pursues infringers through legal channels, including but not restricted to letter of “Cease and Desist” and lawsuits.

Suspected trademark infringement should be reported immediately to Auxiliary Enterprises, Licensing and Trademarks. Please include the appropriate URL if the image has been used on the internet.