Use of The University of Iowa’s word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols creates an association with the University that needs to be protected. With that in mind, the University has a Trademark Licensing Program, which protects and maintains consistent branding. Those seeking to use University marks must obtain the proper permissions prior to use. Usage is allowed only after an application has been submitted and approved by The University of Iowa Trademark Licensing Office.
Trademark Licensing Program
Word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa are the intellectual properties of the University and are registered both at the state and federal levels. To protect the intellectual properties and traditions of the University, the Trademark Licensing Office requires all products that bear word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University to be manufactured by a licensed vendor in good standing with The University of Iowa, and approved by The Trademark Licensing Program.
Requestors should allow a minimum of two weeks for processing with each application.
Any entity other than the University seeking to use the University’s word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols.
Requirements and Restrictions
It is imperative that a licensed vendor is used for production and manufacturing of any product bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with the University. Licensed vendors are required by the Trademark Licensing Program to be members of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which allows the Licensing Program to ensure that its products are compliant with The University of Iowa Code of Conduct. Furthermore, unlicensed manufacturers and producers who make products bearing the University’s marks may be liable to significant legal penalties under the Lanham Act of Federal Trademark Law.
In all cases, when an external entity would like to use word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa, the proposed artwork must contain a “spirit statement” that is of a congratulatory, or in team spirit nature (academic/athletic achievements) as determined by the Trademark Licensing Office, and branded logos and/or word marks may not occupy status as part of the overall University design.These ads may not contain solicitation for the sale of their products or services but the company name/logo may appear.
A commercial entity that is a “licensee” of the University may utilize certain marks in an ad, but only when there is an underlying related product, which is licensed, and only when the licensed product is being advertised.
To promote the University’s brand consistently, word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa may vary in size, but may not be altered in any way. Please reference the Brand Standards for the standards that must be adhered to.
Prohibited Products and Artwork
The University of Iowa explicitly prohibits products from making reference to drugs or paraphernalia; alcohol, consumption or abuse; tobacco products and usage; sexual conduct, imagery or inferences; profanity or inappropriate insensitive language; gambling; firearms and weapons; political and religious endorsements; and any other subject found to be inappropriate, unacceptable or inconsistent with the standard licensing practices of The University of Iowa.
Use of a current student‑athlete’s name or likeness on products is a violation of NCAA rules and can result in the student‑athlete being declared ineligible. Any use of a student‑athlete’s name, nickname, or likeness must be approved by both The University of Iowa Trademark Licensing Office and The University of Iowa Athletics Department Compliance Office.
Co-Branding and Trade Dress
Amalgamations of University marks with other intellectual properties and/or trade dress not associated with The University of Iowa are prohibited. This means that using any colors, fonts, images, or other partial indicia which call to mind the brand of another organization or company may not be used in conjunction with the University’s marks. Doing so violates federal and state trademark law, and such submissions will not be approved absent evidence of third party approval.
Example: The History Department uses The History Channel’s logo, but changes the letters to read “UI History Department”, and changes the colors of the logo to black and Hawkeye gold. This “would be” use of the History Channel’s logo is trade dress and “would be” an infringing use.
Use of intellectual property owned by a third party must be approved by that entity in writing and submitted to the Trademark Licensing Office when the application and artwork are submitted. This includes references to other schools. Please reference the Brand Standards for more information.
Requestor must submit the completed Promotional Use Application & Agreement to the Trademark Licensing Office. Artwork must be submitted by a licensed vendor for pre-production approval. Final approval cannot be completed until the Trademark Licensing Program has received and approved the artwork and application.
Not all requests are approved. This application only becomes an agreement when signed and approved by the Trademark Licensing Office.
Royalties & Fees
Royalties are charges assessed by the Licensing Program to the licensees for the approved use of the University’s marks. Royalties are paid by the approved licensed vendor. The standard charge is 12% of sales, and the promotional use charge is 15%.
Approved products for promotion, regardless of purpose, will be subject to applicable royalties.
The external commercial and promotional use fee is due upon signing the Agreement. This fee represents a figure that is commensurate with the amount of exposure and the amount of association that the promotional client receives for using the University’s word marks, trademarks, and/or logos. The factors considered when determining the rights fees include, but are not limited to: advertising, geographic coverage, premiums, participating outlets or branches.
Please reference the definitions below for more information on determining your type of use.
Types of Use
Promotional: Commercial entities purchase products bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa to be used as giveaway items. Promotional products are subject to applicable royalties.
Examples: Give away of promotional items by commercial entity.
Commercial: Commercial entities purchase products bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa to be used by members or employees. Commercial products are subject to applicable royalties.
Examples: Employee shirts that utilize University word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols.
Application Approval Process
It is important to follow the appropriate process when developing products bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa. This will ensure clear communication and that your request is processed in a timely manner. It is also important to note that our approval procedures and artwork policies have recently changed, and thus previously approved artwork will not automatically be approved upon resubmission. Please review the Brand Standards for complete explanations.
Products for commercial entities will only be approved for promotion if the products do not replicate existing items in the marketplace, a “spirit statement” is used, and the product and artwork is consistent with the Brand Standards and the Trademark Licensing Office’s policies.
Step 1 – Select a Licensed Vendor
Locate a licensed vendor who meets your product needs.
The University of Iowa has over 500 licensed vendors throughout the state and country. Click here for a list of The University of Iowa’s licensees, and for a searchable database organized by product category. If you are unable to find product offerings from our licensees that fulfill your needs, contact the Trademark Licensing Office at 319-384-2000, or by email at email@example.com.
Step 2 – Artwork Development
Work with a licensed vendor to develop an artwork design.
Review and reference the Brand Standards while developing artwork bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa. University departments are subject to all Brand Standards requirements as well as those listed in this policy.
Step 3 – Application and Artwork Submission
Complete the Promotional Use Application & Agreement and submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Include information on the application consistent with Trademark Licensing Office policy on appropriate products. See above, “Requirements and Restrictions” (LINK), for further detail on appropriate products and other restrictions or requirements.
Indicate the intended use of the product bearing word marks, trademarks, logos, and/or symbols associated with The University of Iowa on the application. This will be used to determine the royalty status of your products.
Note: Prior to submission of the application and artwork to the Trademark Licensing Office, all standards and procedures designated by the University’s graphic identity system must be met. Please visit http://www.uiowa.edu/brand/graphic-identity/ for more information on the University’s graphic identity. Your application is considered incomplete if it does not meet the University’s graphic identity.
Once you have completed the Promotional Use Agreement in its entirety, submit it to the Trademark Licensing Office for review. Note: This application is not a binding agreement until The University of Iowa Trademark Licensing Program executes it.
When you and the licensed vendor have finalized an artwork design, the licensed vendor, per its contract with The University of Iowa Trademark Licensing Program, needs to independently submit the artwork to the Trademark Licensing Office for approval.
Upon receipt of the Promotional Use Agreement and artwork, the Trademark Licensing Office will review your application and artwork.
Please allow two weeks for processing your request.
Note: If your application and/or artwork does/do not meet The University of Iowa Trademark Licensing Program’s standards, you will be notified.
Step 4 – Application and Artwork Approval
If your application and artwork has been approved, the Trademark Licensing Office will contact you about the promotional use fee and will send you your executed agreement.
The Trademark Licensing Office will also notify the licensed vendor that the artwork has been approved and the vendor can begin production.
If you have any questions on or throughout the application process, please contact us by phone at 319-384-2000, or by email at email@example.com.