Why Have A Licensing Program?

A trademark licensing program gives the University control over its logos and marks, thus, ensuring the quality and consistency of all of the University’s merchandise. It also enables the University to generate revenue from the sale of merchandise bearing its logos and marks. The revenue is used to support and enhance many programs campus wide. Outside of the University, the trademark licensing program creates a cooperative and positive working relationship with the manufacturers and retailers who work with the University.

What is a trademark?

As defined by the US Patents & Trademarks Office, “a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” A trademark need not be registered in order to have protectable rights to it, simply by using or displaying a mark acquires automatic trademark rights to the owner.

What is a trademark license?

A license is a written legal agreement between the owner of the trademark (licensor) and a manufacturer/vendor (licensee). The licensor grants permission to the licensee to affix the licensor’s trademark(s) on a product(s). This license must be in place before use of the marks.

Who must be licensed?

Anyone or any business/organization wishing to use the University’s trademarks or verbiage on any product must have a license before offering the product/goods for sale. This also includes sale to University departments, campus organizations and student recognized organizations. Premiums, promotions and advertising are included as well.

What If You Do Not Get A License?

All products must be approved by the University’s Trademark Licensing office. Failure to obtain a license or approval from the University’s Trademark Licensing Office would be grounds for the seizure of all non-approved merchandise bearing the University’s marks. It also could result in jail time and numerous fines if convicted.

What if my item is a publication or brochure that I wish to use the University’s trademarks on?

The trademarks of the University may not be used on publications, brochures, advertising or miscellaneous print material without permission from the University. Please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing directly for more information.

How do I obtain a license?

The University partners with the Collegiate Licensing Company to represent their licensing program. Please contact them directly at:
The Collegiate Licensing Company
290 Interstate North: Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: (770) 956-0520
Fax: (770) 955-4491

What kinds of products cannot be licensed?

Weapons/firearms, tobacco products or alcoholic beverages are not appropriate items for licensing. Other products will be considered; however, the University has the right to decline any item.

Are Recognized Student Organizations or campus departments required to obtain permission to use the University names/marks/logos on items used as giveaways, fundraisers or for internal use (shirts for staff, plaques, etc.)?

Yes, in order for the University to maintain and protect its value, permission must be obtained from the Office of Trademark Licensing and a licensed vendor must be used.

Who needs to use an official licensee?

If your order will include a University mark in the design, it must be purchased by an official licensee.

How does the artwork approval process work?

If you have completed the licensing process through CLC, you will receive information on submitting artwork through their interactive Website. This site manages the entire artwork approval process over the Internet. All artwork must be approved before production begins. 

How can I tell if a product is officially licensed?

Look for the Officially Licensed Collegiate label or hologram. This label assures you that the merchandise on which they are affixed has been approved for sale by the University and CLC. For more information about the CLC Hologram program, please go to Logos on Demand.




May a business, corporation or outside entity use the name or marks of the University in their name or as interior design?

The University’s policy does not allow its marks to be used for commercial or promotional advertising purposes without prior approval; this approval is granted based upon each situation. The University’s name and/or marks may also not be used in any way that could state or imply an endorsement. The marks/names/logos may not be used as part of a business name or within the interior design of a business and its building and/or location without prior approval. Approval is not always granted for any of the above uses. For more information on this subject please contact the Office of Trademark Licensing directly.


If you did not find your answer in our FAQ, please contact Mike Keener at mkeener@tennessee.edu or Katrina Phelps at kphelps5@tennessee.edu for further assistance.