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 insignias.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.