Harvard Trademark Program
The Office of the Provost
- What is the Trademark Program’s mission?
- What are Harvard’s trademarks?
- How does Harvard protect its trademarks from unauthorized use?
- What are the Trademark Program’s licensing activities?
- Does Harvard license internationally?
- Who can or should become licensed?
- What goods can be licensed?
- What are the basic terms of a Harvard trademark license?
- Is anyone exempt from paying royalties on items bearing Harvard’s trademarks?
- How is the income from the licensing programs used?
- Does a Harvard student group need permission to produce items bearing the Harvard name and/or insignias?
- How do I go about producing a new shield or logo for my Harvard department, unit, or student group?
- May I use the Harvard name and insignias on business cards and stationery?
- May I use the Harvard name and/or insignia on a custom-made gift or product?
- Who do I contact with copyright questions?
- What office should I contact regarding patents and inventions?
- Where can I get permission to film, videotape or take pictures on Harvard property?
- How do I become a vendor so I can sell goods or provide services to Harvard University?
- What is the typical turn around time for most trademark, use-of-name, and licensing inquiries?
- Where can I find information about Harvard’s “Use-of-Name” policies?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. For more detailed information regarding Harvard’s trademark license requirements, please click here.
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.
After covering operational expenses, income generated by the Trademark Program from its domestic and international licensing activities is used to help fund student-aid initiatives at Harvard.
Anyone, including a Harvard student group, wishing to produce items bearing the Harvard name and/or insignias must obtain permission to do so from the Trademark Program. The following guidelines apply to officially recognized student groups that want to produce and sell, or give away, items bearing their student group name, logo, and/or any other Harvard trademarks.
- A student group may produce items, on a royalty-free basis, bearing the name of their group, their group’s logo, and, if appropriate, another Harvard trademark under the following conditions:
- the item is in accordance with Harvard’s trademark-use standards;
- the student group will use its officially recognized name and, if desired, its logo as approved by the school with which the group is affiliated;
- the item is being produced for the group’s own internal use, or as a gift for group members, or to be sold on a limited and one-time only basis to members and non-members of the student group as a fund-raiser to benefit the student group.
- Student groups may not sell products bearing any Harvard trademarks, including the name and logo of a group, directly to the public, via the Internet, or to retailers for resale to the public or via any other commercial channel other than as stipulated in 1.c above.
- All products and artwork (including the student group name and logo or any other Harvard trademark) must be approved by the Trademark Program prior to production.
If all documentation is submitted in a timely manner, is in good order, and there are no trademark use issues, the review process can usually be completed in approximately five business days. A request for permission to produce items must be submitted in writing to the Trademark Program’s email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and should include the contact information of the student group placing the request along with the number of items to be produced and trademarks to be used.
- Each Harvard department, unit or student group should use the designated shield representing its affiliation with the University. For example, a Harvard College student group can use the Harvard College shield as seen on the http://www.college.harvard.edu/ home page.
- If a new logo is to be produced, a designated shield may be incorporated into the new design (the shield may not be altered or manipulated in any way but a design may be placed around the designated shield). For example, the Harvard Worldwide website contains such a logo. See: www.worldwide.harvard.edu
- Lastly, a new logo can be created containing no similarities to the Harvard VE-RI-TAS shield or any of Harvard's shields (the new logo can not be derivative of any of Harvard's shields). For example, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, http://www.hsci.harvard.edu/, created a completely new logo. In addition, the Arnold Arboretum, http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/, crafted a design utilizing the shape of the VERITAS shield as the basis for its new logo, which is acceptable because the shape itself is a generic shield-shape and the resulting logo contains no derivative VERITAS shield elements. If options 2 or 3 are chosen, the new logo/design will need to be reviewed by the Trademark Program
This section of our website is currently being updated. In the interim, please email our office at email@example.com , with any inquiries you may have that are related to this question.
Depending on the item and its intended use, permission to use the Harvard name or insignia on a custom-made gift or product is occasionally given by the University. Typically, permission is granted for an item that cannot be obtained from a licensed retailer and is intended as a special gift for the private use of a member of the Harvard community (including alumni). At its discretion, the Trademark Program may approve the request and grant a manufacturer a one-time use, royalty-exempt license to produce the item. Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and, among other factors, consideration is given to the appropriateness of the product itself, the trademark requested and its proposed use on the product, and the reason or reasons for the request.
Harvard does not have an office that specifically deals with copyright requests. Reprint/reproduction permission for copyrighted documents is given by the individual Harvard school, department, or unit that created or oversees the work in question: this policy is a function of practicality as well as academic courtesy. To request permission to reproduce, in whole or part, material copyrighted by Harvard University (President and Fellows of Harvard College), you must contact the school or department that produced the material. For example, for books published by Harvard University Press (HUP), you must contact HUP; for material published by the Harvard Business Review, contact the business office for the Harvard Business Review; for a paper produced by a professor of chemistry, contact the Department of Chemistry; and so forth. Contact information for a University school or department can usually be found on a publication’s masthead; or you may obtain that information from the University information line at 617-495-1000.
The Office of Technology Development (OTD) administers patents, inventions, and technology transfers for the University and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-495-3067. You can also access the OTD website at: http://www.otd.harvard.edu/.
All inquiries regarding videotaping, filming or photographing on Harvard property, along with questions from the media, are handled by the Harvard University Office of News and Public Affairs. You can visit their website at: http://www.hno.harvard.edu/.
These types of inquiries are handled by Harvard’s Procurement Management Department. You can visit their website at http://vpf-web.harvard.edu/ofs/procurement/.
All inquiries regarding such matters should be submitted to the email@example.com email address and usually receive an acknowledgement within twenty-four hours (inquiries made on a Friday will typically be acknowledged on Monday, unless Monday is a holiday and then it will be acknowledged on a Tuesday). Most inquiries can be addressed within five business days. However, those of a particularly complex nature may take longer to resolve.
The policies and guidelines governing the use of the Harvard name and insignias by Harvard schools, departments, and units, FAQ’s concerning these policies and guidelines, as well as information on how to apply for a “.harvard.edu” domain name or “@harvard.edu” email alias may be found in the “Policies” section of the Office of the Provost website or in the “Policies and Forms” section of the Trademark Program website. To access the policies directly, please click here. For questions about any of these policies please contact the Trademark Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-495-9513.