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Trademark Licensing FAQ

General Information

What are the Rutgers trademarks?
Rutgers’ trademarks include the name of the university, the university logotype family of institutional marks, the intercollegiate athletics logos and wordmarks, including “Scarlet Knights,” and all other identifying marks of the university. This includes the trademarks of the New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden campuses.

What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design (or a combination of those) that identifies or distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others. A trademark serves to communicate to the consumer the unique source of specific goods or services.

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 that the Rutgers name is not used improperly, or on unsafe products, such as knives and flammable items. Furthermore, licensed vendors are required to join the Fair Labor Association, which monitors overseas factories.

What types of companies are licensed?
The university holds trademark licenses with a wide range of companies, both large and small, local and national.

Who is responsible for state and federal trademark registrations?
The Office of Trademark Licensing is responsible for all nonpatent-related state and federal trademark registrations. All requests for trademark registrations should be made to the Office of Trademark Licensing.

How does a company become licensed?
Companies desiring to enter into a trademark license agreement with the university must contact the university’s licensing agent, The Collegiate Licensing Company. Companies may apply for a license agreement online at

Why do the symbols ® and TM sometimes appear on products with the Rutgers name or logos?
The ® and TM signify ownership of a trademark. The TM symbol indicates that the word, symbol, or design it is placed next to is a trademark. The ® symbol indicates that the trademark is federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These symbols signal the university’s ownership of its trademarks and assist the university in its trademark enforcement efforts.

Why is liability a concern when distributing promotional items and giveaways?
In the event that a product with the Rutgers name or logos causes damage or injury, Rutgers could be held responsible. 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. Please review the list of prohibited items and designs before choosing a product for your promotion.

Information on Promotional Products Purchased by University Departments and Student Organizations

Why do I need to be concerned with Rutgers’ trademarks when buying T-shirts, mugs, and other promotional items?
In order to protect the Rutgers name and avoid liability issues, all items with Rutgers’ trademarks, from a pen with the words "Go Rutgers" to a T-shirt with the name of a Rutgers student club, must be purchased from a company that is authorized to sell merchandise with the Rutgers name.

I have been using a nonlicensed vendor for several years. Why should I stop?
It is university policy that Rutgers-branded products be purchased from a licensed vendor. In addition, besides protecting the university from liability, a licensed vendor has access to Rutgers’ official logos, including intercollegiate athletics logos. Moreover, licensed vendors are more likely to be accustomed to working with Rutgers departments and student groups. For more details about why you should use a licensed vendor, please see our list of top 10 reasons.

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 us via email for assistance.

Can I use the official Rutgers seal for my promotion?
No. The university seal is typically used for official documents, such as diplomas and letters of introduction. Permission is required to use the seal on any product. However, the university has an informal seal that may be used on promotional products. Contact the Office of Trademark Licensing via email for more information.

Will I save money on shipping by buying from a local vendor?
Not necessarily. Even if the company is located nearby, items may be shipped from other locations. But in the case of T-shirts and other apparel, you will likely save on shipping if you decide to pick up your order on your own.

Are prices on promotional items all-inclusive, or are there extra charges?
Practices vary among companies. When researching pricing, you should ask whether the price is all-inclusive or whether additional charges, such as shipping and set-up fees, will apply.

Is the approval of artwork required when purchasing promotional items?
Yes. The vendor is responsible for submitting artwork to the Office of Trademark Licensing for approval.

Should alumni buy from a licensed vendor?
Yes. Anyone purchasing promotional items with the Rutgers name should buy from a licensed vendor.

How will choosing a licensed vendor benefit my department or organization?
Licensed vendors are accustomed to working with the university community. They are familiar with our trademark licensing requirements, as well as our logos and artwork.

Can I use the university identity system marks on promotional products?
Yes, but please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing via email for guidance on the proper use and placement of the marks.

Can I use the "Block R" spirit mark on promotional products?
Only intercollegiate athletics, student organizations and sports clubs, and the alumni association may use the "Block R" spirit mark on promotional products. The mark may not be altered in any way, and it may only be reproduced in red or white.