FAQ

1 - What is the Trademark Program’s mission?

The Trademark Program’s mission, as established by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, is to protect and license Harvard’s trademarks throughout the world. In addition, the Trademark Program assists the Harvard community with the various policies and guidelines governing the appropriate use of the Harvard name and insignia's.

2 - What are Harvard’s trademarks?

The family of “Harvard” trademarks, many of which are registered throughout the world for a variety of goods and services, are comprised of word-marks, design-marks, and letter-marks. Word-marks include names for the University itself such as “Harvard” and “Harvard University;” names for the various schools of the University as in “Harvard College,” “Harvard Business School,” “Harvard Medical School,” and “Harvard Law School;” names for Harvard departments, units, initiatives, activities, and affiliates such as “Harvard University Press,” “Harvard Faculty Club,” “Harvard University Health Services,” “Harvard Stem Cell Institute,” “The Harvard Club,” “The Harvard Student-Led Walking Tour,” and “The Inn at Harvard;” and other representative names such as “Harvard Soccer,” “The Harvard Shop,” “Hahvahd” and “Crimson.” The letter “H” is the primary letter-mark for the University, and the design-marks include the VE-RI-TAS shield, with and without wreath and banner, the shields of the various schools, and the University house shields. A "®" designation must accompany all registered trademarks of the University and a “TM” designation must accompany marks not yet registered.

3 - How does Harvard protect its trademarks from unauthorized use?

Harvard’s trademarks are protected by a wide variety of means. One way is through the many legitimate trademark registrations owned by Harvard throughout the world. Another way is through monitoring services which notify the Trademark Program whenever an attempt is made by an unaffiliated party to obtain a “”Harvard” trademark registration anywhere in the world for any goods or services. The Trademark Program also uses a service to monitor the Internet for the registration of “Harvard” formative domain names and takes appropriate action whenever these domains lead to websites that infringe on Harvard’s trademark rights. Additionally, the Trademark Program has legal counsel, licensing agents, and licensees throughout the world who bring to its attention anyone attempting to use Harvard’s trademarks without the University's permission; and, as a protective measure, all of Harvard’s licensees are required to identify their products as being officially licensed by Harvard. Finally, Harvard faculty, students, staff, and alumni, as well as other concerned individuals, constitute an excellent network for identifying the unauthorized use of Harvard’s trademarks for goods or services around the world. To report the suspected unauthorized use of Harvard’s trademarks, please click here.

4 - What are the Trademark Program’s licensing activities?

Through its domestic and international licensing programs, the Trademark Program grants licenses to qualified manufacturers to produce a variety of Harvard insignia items for sale to the public. In return for their licensing rights, licensees pay royalties on the merchandise they sell. While both the domestic and international licensing programs are administered by the Trademark Program, due to the complexities of international business practices and law, the international licensing program is typically managed with the assistance of professional licensing agents. The Trademark Program also grants royalty-exempt licenses to vendors who receive orders from Harvard schools, departments, units, or officially recognized Harvard student organizations interested in producing Harvard insignia items for non-commercial purposes. For more information about Harvard’s licensing programs, please click here.

5 - Does Harvard license internationally?

Harvard does license its trademarks internationally and currently has licensees in various countries around the world. Generally, the Trademark Program utilizes the services of professional licensing agents in specific territories to help identify licensees and bring them to the Trademark Program’s attention for possible licensing, to monitor the market for infringement and counterfeit products, and to serve as regional licensing coordinators. Other than the fact that they typically grant exclusive rights for a specific category of products in a given territory, international licenses are comparable to their domestic counterparts: licensees are required to produce items in accordance with Harvard’s licensing standards; to represent the University’s trademarks appropriately and accurately; to submit product samples for quality assurance and trademark-use reviews; to maintain commercial general liability insurance and membership in the Fair Labor Association; to submit artwork for review and approval prior to production; to pay advance royalties; and to submit royalty reports and, if applicable, royalty payments. For more detailed information regarding Harvard’s international licensing program, please click here.

6 - Who can or should become licensed?

Any person or company wishing to produce any type of goods bearing Harvard's trademarks must either be licensed or receive special written permission from the Trademark Program to produce such goods. Harvard does not typically license its trademarks for any services.

7 - What goods can be licensed?

Typically the University licenses apparel, novelty items, and stationery products. Apparel includes items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, dress shirts, jackets, sweaters, shorts, caps, and ties. Novelty items encompass such items as key chains, watches, clocks, jewelry, mugs, glassware, leather goods, bags, and backpacks. Stationery products comprise goods such as note-cards, pens and pen sets, and notebooks. Typically, Harvard does not license its trademarks for any services.

8 - What are the basic terms of a Harvard trademark license?

The basic terms of a trademark license require the payment of royalties for Harvard items sold either on a wholesale or retail basis, the payment of an advance royalty and an annual administration fee, the submission of artwork for review and approval prior to production, the submission of product samples, and the maintenance of commercial general liability insurance and membership in the Fair Labor Association. The license also identifies the trademarks that may be used on the licensed products and stipulates the manner in which they may be used. For more detailed information regarding Harvard’s trademark license requirements, please click here.

9 - Is anyone exempt from paying royalties on items bearing Harvard’s trademarks?

Orders for Harvard insignia products by University schools, departments, units, and Harvard student organizations can be exempted from royalties as long as the items are limited in number, for internal use, for specific events, to be provided as gifts, or if produced for sale to the public (which is only allowed on a limited basis) the proceeds are used to benefit the Harvard unit selling the items. In addition, sales of royalty-exempt goods may not be made through a retailer, the Internet, or any other commercial venue. To be granted royalty exemption for the manufacturing of Harvard insignia items, the vendor being contracted by a Harvard unit to produce Harvard items must obtain a royalty-exempt license from the Trademark Program (see the Royalty-Exempt License section of the Domestic Licensing Program). To assist Harvard units and vendors with this process, the Trademark Program provides units with the names and contact information of companies licensed to produce Harvard insignia products. For more detailed information regarding Harvard’s royalty-exempt license, please click here.