Trademark Licensing FAQ

What is a trademark?
A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, design, or any combination used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services. A trademark can be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for exclusive use by the group holding the registration. Registering trademarks prevents use by non-affiliated groups and helps to keep the brand intact.

What are the Rutgers trademarks?
Rutgers’ trademarks include the name of the university, the university's institutional marks, the athletics logos and wordmarks, and all other identifying marks and names belonging to the university. This includes the names and marks associated with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, Rutgers University–Newark, Rutgers University–Camden, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Who is responsible for state and federal trademark registrations?
The Office of Trademark Licensing is responsible for nonpatent-related state and federal trademark registrations, and can assist other university units seeking to register a mark, phrase, or name with the process by working with outside counsel. All costs associated with the registration process are the responsibility of the unit seeking the registration. Contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for assistance.

What should I do if I see Rutgers name or trademarks being infringed upon or being used incorrectly?
Please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing. The misuse of university trademarks diminishes Rutgers brand and could have further legal implications.

How does a company become a licensee?
Prospective partners wishing to enter into a trademark license agreement with the university must contact the university’s licensing agency, CLC. Prospects may apply for a license agreement online at

How does licensing a vendor benefit the university?
In addition to protecting the university from product liability, the use of licensed vendors helps to ensure the Rutgers name is not used improperly or on unsafe products. Licensed vendors are also required to join the Fair Labor Association, which monitors overseas manufacturing practices.

Why do the symbols ® and TM need to appear on products with the Rutgers name or logos?
The ® and TM signify the university's ownership of its trademarks and assists the university in its trademark enforcement efforts.

Why is liability a concern when distributing promotional items and giveaways?
The trademark licensing agreement that is signed by licensed vendors helps to protect the university by transferring product liability back to the vendor. Moreover, licensed vendors are required to carry product liability insurance.

Can Rutgers endorse a licensed product?
University policy, and in some instances state law, prevents Rutgers from all explicit and implied endorsements. Please see the Trademark Licensing policy for more details.

What if I can't find a licensed vendor offering an item I want to buy?
The Office of Trademark Licensing will help you find an appropriate vendor. Please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for assistance.

Are there any product categories that do not require a license from the university?
The use of a university licensed vendor is not required for signage and paper printed materials. However, signs and paper printed materials must be produced in accordance with the Rutgers Visual Identity System.

Are any groups exempted from royalty fees?
Student groups do not have to pay a royalty fee on promotional items produced for their organizations.

Can a student organization purchase products to resell for fundraising?
Only licensees can sell branded products. As they are not directly licensed, student organizations, university departments, and individuals cannot purchase branded items for resale. If interested in selling branded products for fundraising, please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing to discuss how to set up a store with a licensed retail vendor.

How can I set up an online store to sell merchandise to my school’s student body or my student organization?
Contact the Office of Trademark Licensing and we will be able to assist you.

Is the approval of artwork required when purchasing promotional items?
All promotional items with Rutgers trademarks must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Trademark Licensing. Please refer to Branded Apparel and Swag for more information.

How should alumni buy Rutgers branded merchandise?
Alumni have many choices of retail outlets offering Rutgers merchandise to help them show their pride. Visit Show Your Rutgers Pride to find a list of some of the most popular ways to shop.

Can alumni groups use their existing signature on promotional items?
Alumni groups should contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for assistance.

Can I use the Rutgers Visual Identity System marks on promotional products?
Yes, please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for guidance on the proper use and placement of the marks.

Can I use the Block R (spirit mark) on promotional products?
Intercollegiate athletics, student organizations, sports clubs, and the alumni association may use the Block R (spirit mark) on promotional products. Other units must seek the assistance of the Office of Trademark Licensing. The Block R may not be altered in any way, and it may only be reproduced according to the Rutgers Visual Identity System.

Can I use the official Rutgers seal for my promotion?
No. The university seal has very limited use, primarily on official university documents and diplomas. It may also be used on commencement-related items, such as diploma frames and program books. Permission is required to use the seal on these items. Contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for more information. Please consider using the Rutgers shield instead.

Can I create my own logo?
University departments may not create distinctive logos, as per the Board of Governors. Student groups may create their own logo as long as the name of their student group appears prominently on the product. Student groups may also use the trademarks of the university as long as they follow the standards outlined in the Rutgers Visual Identity System. Please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing for assistance.

I think my center, department, etc. needs a distinctive logo. How can I request an exemption from the Rutgers visual identity policy?

See the Visual Identity System FAQ

I see my colleague’s program, center, project isn’t using a Rutgers logo. How come they aren’t complying with the visual identity policy, but I have to?

See the Visual Identity System FAQ