Use of Name in Electronic Contexts

Use of Harvard's Name in Internet Addresses, Domain Names, Web Sites and Other Electronic Contexts


The Provost's Office has received questions about how the University Policy on the Use of Harvard Insignias, applies to the name "Harvard" or the names of any of the Schools within the University in web pages, e-mail addresses, and internet addresses. Under existing policy, electronic communication or activity is treated similarly to other activities that require advance permission for the use of the University's names or insignias. The following guidelines apply:

1. As in the case of other uses of Harvard's name, advance permission of the appropriate official (the Provost in the case of the "Harvard" name and the appropriate Dean in the case of an individual School's name) must be obtained before any of these names in any form (including abbreviations or in combination with other words) is used in an internet address, an e-mail address (other than one which consists solely of an individual's name, e.g., or a web site identification.

2. Just as trademarks involving the name of the University or the names of any of its Schools or other units are owned by the University, any internet address which includes "Harvard" or the names of any of its individual Schools or other units in any form must also be owned by Harvard University. (This includes addresses that use common abbreviations for Schools, e.g. "HLS" for Harvard Law School or "HMS" for Harvard Medical School.) Individuals and non-Harvard organizations may not register such internet addresses in their own names. Harvard-affiliated or approved organizations and units that have received advance permission to use "Harvard" or the name of one of its Schools or other units (Under Paragraph 1 above) must register the approved internet address in the name of " President and Fellows of Harvard College." For all domain name registrations outside of the domain and whose internet address includes "Harvard" or the names of any of its individual Schools or other units, the Network Operations Center (NOC) ( should be notified. The NOC is available to undertake or assist with registrations for any University unit.

3. In most cases, for organizations or units within Harvard, an internet address that is substantially the same as the applicant group's official name or an already approved name will be allowed. For example, the Harvard Children's Initiative will be permitted to use "".

4. Internet addresses should accurately describe the activity or program to which they refer. An internet address or other use of "Harvard" in any form that suggests sponsorship by the University as a whole or by any unit of the University will be approved only when such a suggestion is accurate. In many cases, the appropriate address will note the Faculty that hosts the activity (e.g.,

5. A student organization should work through its Dean of Students' office to obtain the necessary advance permission before planning or using any form of “Harvard” in an internet address.

6. In most cases, the appropriate domain for the University activities will be ".edu" or ".org." Registration of a name in ".com" or ".net" requires express permission of the Provost.

7. These guidelines apply regardless of whether the Harvard University server or another server is used.

8. The registering party is responsible for expenses associated with the registration and the maintenance of the URL as needed.

Please contact the Trademark Program with any questions ( or 617-495-9513).

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See also: Policies