Trademarks & Licensing

Policies and procedures


The University of Washington (UW) created its trademark and licensing program in 1981 to establish a foundation for promoting and protecting the use of its trademarks. A trademark (or mark) is any logo, symbol, nickname, letter(s), word, slogan or derivative that can be associated with an organization, company, manufacturer or institution and can be distinguished from those of other entities or competitors. The UW owns and controls its name(s) and other marks, logos, insignias, seal, designs and symbols (hereafter, “trademarks”) that are associated with the institution.

UW trademarks include, but are not limited to, the words Washington, Huskies, Dawgs, University of Washington; UDub, and logos such as the block “W”, the Husky mascot mark, the Husky football helmet and the official UW seal.

In addition to the marks listed above, any indicia adopted hereafter and used or approved for use by the University shall be subject to the policies and procedures of the trademark licensing program. Any derivations of the UW marks which would cause consumers to erroneously believe that the product originated from or was sponsored or authorized by the University (“an implied endorsement”) shall also be covered by the trademark licensing policies and procedures.

In addition to trademarks, licensing policies extend to the use of University images and the use of the University fight song and other music performed by the Husky Marching Band.

In order to comply with and assure protection under federal, state and international trademark laws, the UW is required to monitor and control all uses of its trademarks. Unauthorized use of UW trademarks is subject to civil and criminal penalties. UW reserves the right to take appropriate action when confronted with unauthorized use of its trademarks. Such actions may include confiscation of the goods, financial penalties, cease and desist orders and other legal action.

UW must control and monitor the use of its trademarks or risk losing its rights to them as unique UW identifiers. UW has a compelling interest in controlling the use of its trademarks for other reasons as well. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Protecting the UW name and ensuring that its use is compatible with the University of Washington’s brand.
  • Ensuring that any products or services that bear UW trademarks are of high quality and are used only in connection with products and services with which the university has chosen to be identified with;
  • Preventing misleading or inaccurate representations of UW’s relationship to other entities or activities, and preventing others from taking advantage of the goodwill the university has developed and which is symbolized by its trademarks; and
  • Ensuring that the products and services bearing UW’s trademarks protect the integrity and reputation of the institution, maintain and build upon the goodwill of the institution, and promote support for and increase awareness of the institution, its mission and goals.

The Office of Trademarks & Licensing (UWTLO) is overseen by the Director of Trademarks and Licensing who reports to the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of University Marketing & Communications.

The University has contracted with the IMG College Licensing (IMGCL), the nation’s leading collegiate licensing agency, to enhance the University’s efforts in this area. The IMGCL Consortium consists of more than 200 universities, bowl games, conferences, the Heisman Trophy and the NCAA. Based in Atlanta, IMGCL provides its member institution the expertise, resources, and experience necessary to maximize licensing revenue potential through the power of consolidation. Additionally, the University partners with Collegiate Images to license its video and still photography.

The purpose of this policy is to provide information and guidelines regarding the use of UW’s trademarks.

Licensing and royalties

Licensing agreements

Any person, business or organization desiring to use University of Washington trademarks in any manner and for any purpose must be licensed to do so. The University has contracted with IMGCL to issue licenses on its behalf. There are several types of licensing agreements:

  1. Standard and local licensing agreements for the production of emblematic merchandise to be sold by an individual or company at retail.
  2. Internal Campus Supplier (ICS) – restricted standard and local licensing agreements for the production of emblematic merchandise for use by a campus organization or department.
  3. Promotional use agreements covering the use of marks for an approved limited-duration commercial use.

Summary of licensing agreements

Agreement Description Parameters Royalty rate
Standard license For production of emblematic merchandise to be sold by an individual or company at retail. Granted to companies that license with more than six institutions.
  • Annually renewable.
  • Both licensee and all designs must be pre-approved.
  • Minimum of $1 million in product liability insurance.
  • Must sign and abide by UW Code of Conduct.
Local license For production of emblematic merchandise to be sold by an individual or company at retail.  Granted to companies/individuals that are licensed with five or fewer in-state institutions.
  • Annually renewable.
  • Both licensee and all designs must be pre-approved.
  • Minimum of $1 million in product liability insurance.
  • Must sign and abide by UW Code of Conduct.
Internal campus supplier (ICS) For production of emblematic merchandise for use by a campus organization or department.  Products produced under this license must not be sold by the campus department or organization.
  • Products cannot be sold.
  • Annually renewable.
  • Both licensee and all designs must be pre-approved.
  • Minimum of $1 million in product liability insurance.
  • Must sign and abide by UW Code of Conduct.
12% unless waived through Royalty Exemption process.
Promotional license For use of marks for an approved limited-duration commercial use. See UW Promotional Use Policy Varies

Licensing terms

The terms of a domestic trademark license agreement with the University typically include an application fee, an annual administration fee, advance royalty fees (varies), cost of obtaining Product Liability Insurance, marketing costs, product development, membership dues in the Fair Labor Association and a 12% royalty rate on the wholesale price of the goods. Furthermore, licensees are required to submit product samples and designs for approval prior to production of the goods.

Licensing process

After an interested party contacts IMGCL, the licensing process begins and is outlined below.

  • CLC Review: After the required paperwork is submitted to IMGCL (including any needed insurance information, marketing plans, etc.), the potential licensee and company information is sent to the University for review and approval. CLC will also forward any samples of product for the University to review production quality, and all relevant information to assist the University in the decision-making process.
  • University Review: The University will then review the company information, the product and its quality, and make a decision on whether or not to approve the company as a licensee. The approval process may include all or some individuals from the licensing agent, the UWTLO, and other parties as appropriate.
  • Decision Notification: Approval (or disapproval) of the licensee by the University will be sent to IMGCL, who will notify the potential licensee of the decision. Once approval has been granted, the licensee may proceed with submitting products/artwork for approval.

International licenses

The University has trademark licensing programs in place in many countries outside of the United States. Those companies interested in licensing internationally should contact Kathy Hoggan, Senior Director of Trademarks & Licensing,

Responsible production

The UW is committed to conducting its business affairs in a socially responsible and ethical manner. The University has taken a leadership role in efforts to ensure decent and humane working conditions in factories. All manufacturers of products bearing University trademarks must adhere to the University’s Code of Conduct in the manufacture of those products. In addition, the University requires all of its licensees to publicly disclose the names and locations of all factories which manufacture products that bear University’s trademarks. University licensees are required to maintain membership in the Fair Labor Association.


Products, including those products sold to a University-owned entity, are generally subject to royalty fees if a UW trademark is utilized and the product is for resale or the name of a third party is used in conjunction or in association with the trademark. This includes sales to individual customers, sales for fund-raising projects, sales of items carrying a commercial message or sponsor, items used as promotional marketing tools for an event and items given at conferences/workshops/clinics that are part of the registration fee. These guidelines are usually sufficient to determine royalty/non-royalty bearing use. However, each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The current standard royalty rate is 12%. The inclusion of a corporate name or “sponsor” will require payment of promotional royalties. Special programs, including Apple Cup and designs featuring marks of multiple institutions, are subject to different royalty rates.

Royalty exemptions

  • The University concurs in the basic concept that no user of its marks should be exempt from its licensing program and will make good faith efforts to follow this premise.
  • The University reserves the right to grant exemptions to any user if circumstances warrant that it would be in the best interests of the University to do so. The Director of Trademarks and Licensing will make any exemption decision.
  • Specific rules apply to use of marks for internal use (see specific policy section for campus departments, clubs and organizations).
  • Artwork sold for individual display shall not require licensing (i.e. painting to be framed or individually-produced sculptures); however notecards, posters, art prints or other reproduction copies bearing University marks or images are not exempt.
  • Printed programs for athletic and special events on campus are not subject to licensing regardless of whether they are given away or sold.

Officially licensed vendors. Only an Officially Licensed Vendor may produce merchandise bearing University trademarks. For a list of officially licensed vendors, please contact the UWTLO or download the list from the Licensees tab on this website.

Use of trademarks

Sole ownership/copyright. No one other than the University of Washington may claim copyright or trademark rights in or seek to register any design that uses Washington trademarks.

No alterations. University trademarks may not be altered in any way.

Approvals. Each use of a UW Trademark requires approval. Approval to use a trademark for a one-time application only (i.e. on a t-shirt) does not constitute approval to use the trademark again, or in connection with any other item, or to change the design in any way.

Co-branding. University trademarks may not be used in conjunction with the name or trademark(s) of any other entity without the prior written permission of that entity. If permission is granted by the UWTLO to use both the University trademark and another party’s trademark in a design, the trademarks must be distinct and separate from each other, and Washington’s trademarks must not be overshadowed or diminished in any way in comparison to the other entity’s trademark. Approval of any such dual use of Washington trademarks will be limited to instances where there is a compelling institutional priority in allowing such a use.

No endorsement. UW trademarks may not be used in any manner that suggests or implies the University’s endorsement of other organizations, companies, products, services, political parties or views, or religious organizations or beliefs.

Non-discrimination. UW trademarks may not be used in any way that discriminates or implies discrimination against any persons or groups based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or military status or in any other way that would be a violation of Washington’s non-discrimination policies or practices.

Designation symbols. All uses of UW trademarks on retail or promotional products will incorporate the appropriate trademark designation symbols, ® or TM, often referred to as registration marks. In certain circumstances an indicia statement will be allowed to be used instead of the designation symbol. Designation symbols are not required when trademarks are used by University departments in printed and digital communications and signage.

Use of trademarks on products

The UWTLO will not approve the use of its trademarks on certain types of products. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and liquor.
  • Inherently dangerous products such as firearms, explosives and fuels.
  • Tobacco-related products;
  • Illegal drug-related products;
  • Obscene or disparaging products including, but not limited to, nude photographs, caricature poster art or designs that would tend to damage the reputation or degrade the goodwill of the University as represented by the trademarks.
  • Sexually suggestive products including, but not limited to, inappropriate slogans imprinted on clothing and the configuration of certain novelty items.
  • Business names and or logos – all types
  • Products that present an unacceptable risk of liability;
  • Products that are harmful to the mission or image of the institution.

Use of trademarks in publications

  • University trademarks may be used on the cover or within the text of a publication when there is an article about the University, its officers, students or alumni.
  • University marks may be used in sports publications approved by the University, providing the publisher agrees to include the following disclaimer in the publication: “Not an Official Publication of the University of Washington”
  • University marks may be used in literary works that generally provide historical information about and promote the goodwill of the UW. Trademarks may be licensed for such use by permission letter after review by the appropriate institutional officers, including the UWTLO.
  • Schedule cards or posters that include the University’s name, but no logos or slogans, are not subject to licensing fees and are considered for informational use.

Use of trademarks in advertisements

Permission to use University trademarks in advertising must be approved by the UWTLO. UW trademarks may be used in the following kinds of advertising:

  • By a commercial entity that is a licensee of the University but only when there is an underlying related product, which is licensed and only when the licensed product is being advertised (approval granted through license agreement). Retailers or licensed manufacturers may use pictures in advertisements showing licensed products with University indicia for sale.
  • By a commercial entity in ads that are of an informational, congratulatory or team spirit nature. These ads may not contain solicitation for the sale of their products or services but the company name/logo may appear.
  • In corporate advertisements in official programs sold or distributed at athletic events, subject to terms of an Advertising Agreement.
  • In promotional activities pursuant to the terms of a Sponsor/Promotional License Agreement. Promotional activities are activities such as advertising or offering promotional products to further the growth, development, acceptance and/or sale of goods or services.
  • By companies that have contracted with the University for goods or services. The company may list the name only in typewritten form (no logos) as part of a client listing so long as the listing does not include any descriptive language which could be interpreted as an endorsement by the University. UWTLO will also consult the contracting department for approval to list the University as a client. Companies may include photographs of the actual work area, provided the campus department who contracted the work approves of such use.

Artwork/design restrictions

Certain artwork or designs will not be approved for use in conjunction with UW trademarks. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Art depicting or implying the use or endorsement of
    • Alcohol
    • Illegal drugs
    • Tobacco products
    • Firearms or other weapons
    • Racist, sexist, hateful, demeaning or degrading language or statements
    • Profanity
    • Sexual acts
    • Statements impugning other universities
  • Art or a design incorporating trademarks or copyrights not owned by Washington, unless written permission for such use satisfactory in form and substance to Washington is obtained from the trademark holder or copyright owner, and approved in advance by the UWTLO or its agent.
  • The official seal logo (one-color only) will be approved for limited use on a case-by-case basis, mostly on higher end graduation or business gift items. The University seal is not approved for use on apparel.

Use of trademarks by other educational entities

Use of University trademarks by high schools, middle schools and elementary schools is not permitted.

Uses of trademarks by non-university entities

Use of the University trademarks by organizations that are not affiliated with the University will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The following guidelines generally apply:

  • Businesses may use the University trademarks in a non-permanent fixture (i.e. window painting, removable lettering on marquees) supporting a University event. Such displays may not contain solicitation for the sale of their products or services but the company name/logo may appear.
  • Businesses may not establish a permanent statue or mural that includes the University trademarks or likeness without written permission from the UWTLO.
  • Businesses, individuals or organizations may not use the trademarks of the University on websites without written permission from the UWTLO.
  • Individuals or organizations may not use the University’s trademarks in conjunction with a candidate for political office or policy/legislative issue.
  • With the exception of certain businesses that were established prior to the University’s licensing program, private and/or corporate businesses may not use University trademarks in their business name.

Student-athletes and coaches: Any and all uses of the names, numbers and/or images of UW student-athletes and coaches must comply with UW policies and NCAA regulations. Questions should be directed to the UWTLO, who will consult as appropriate with UW Athletics.

Special event trademarks: Any special events featuring University trademarks, including NCAA Championships, bowl games, rivalry series (i.e. Apple Cup) and single events (i.e. Windermere Cup) follow the same guidelines as uses of other University trademarks. Depending on the special event, additional policies and guidelines may apply.

UW fight song and marching band music: Any entity wishing to use the UW fight song, “Bow Down to Washington” or other music recorded by the Husky Marching Band, for commercial or other purposes must obtain permission through the UWTLO. Commercial uses are subject to licensing fees.

Video and photography

For information regarding licensing of University of Washington video and photography, please contact:

Neil Aziz

Appropriate use of trademarks

The University reserves the right to disapprove any use of its trademarks, even if such use is not explicitly prohibited by this policy or these guidelines. In instances where there is uncertainty regarding the appropriate use of any Washington trademarks, the Director of Trademarks and Licensing will consult with the Senior Vice President and/or the University of Washington Attorney General’s Office.

Policy for internal use

Eligibility: Use of a University mark with an organization implies association with the University. Therefore, only Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) and official campus departments or groups are allowed to use UW trademarks in conjunction with their organization’s name.

UW departments, groups and registered student organizations may not assign trademark usage rights, or otherwise grant permission, to any other internal or external entity for any purpose without prior review and approval by the UWTLO.

Registered Student Organization names: A registered student organization or sport club team may use the University name in its title, publications or letterhead to show its status as a registered student organization at UW, but may not use the name in a manner as to create confusion between it as an organization and the University itself, nor in a manner that would in any way constitute an endorsement, approval or underwriting of any organization, product, activity, service or contract by the University of Washington.

The general rule is that the University name cannot precede the name of the student organization. Examples include:

Permissible: ABC Club at the University of Washington; ABC Club at UW; ABC Club- UW Chapter

Not permissible: University of Washington ABC Club; UW ABC Club; ABC Club of the University of Washington

Royalty exemptions: The only items exempt from royalties are those items produced for use as staff uniforms or giveaways that are customized to specific University programs or events. Items must be purchased with department funds. All other uses of trademarks on products are subject to royalties including sales for fundraising projects, sales to individual members of an organization, or if the price of an item is built into a fee (i.e. event registration). To request exemption from royalties, organizations must fill out a royalty waiver form.

Trademark uses that do not require approval by UWTL: Some uses of UW trademarks by departments, groups and RSOs may not require prior approval from the UWTLO. These include:

  • Use of trademarks in the ordinary course of conducting University business provided they make no changes to the design or approved colors of University trademarks, and adhere to both the University brand guidelines and other related guidelines in this policy. Examples include the use of trademarks on stationery, business cards, reports, official publications, posters, banners and similar materials, and materials used in academic courses.
  • Any questions regarding use of UW trademarks for these internal purposes should be directed to UW Marketing.

Trademark uses that require approval:

  • All products: All uses of University trademarks on products require prior approval from the UWTLO, even if the proposed uses do not involve the sale of a product; i.e. promotional items for conferences or meetings, items for fundraisers, gifts, etc.
  • Promotional uses: See Promotional Use Policy.
  • Other: All other uses, except those listed in “Trademark Uses That May Not Require Approval.”

Any product bearing UW Trademarks or a specific department logo must be purchased from a licensed manufacturer. Using an officially licensed company to manufacture a product ensures that the company has provided the correct product liability insurances and signed the University’s code of conduct agreement. A list of licensees by product category can be found on our Licensees page or from the UWTLO.

To ensure consistency in the use of UW trademarks, all product designs must be approved by the UWTLO before production. In most cases, the manufacturer can submit the design for approval on behalf of the organization/department. However, if there are questions concerning the design, the organization’s representative may contact the UWTLO directly.

Policy for promotional use


Promotional use of all University trademarks (institutional and athletic) is coordinated through and approved by UWTL on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the mission of the licensing program and the many constituents it serves.

UW departments, groups and registered student organizations may not assign rights to or otherwise grant permission to any other entity for use of University trademarks for any purpose without prior review and approval by UWTL.

Promotional uses of marks are granted to entities with official sponsorship relationships and are limited to athletic events or other University activities that are co-sponsored by the University.

All promotional uses are subject to promotional licensing fees as determined by the UWTLO.


Promotional use: Use of University’s trademarks by a third party to promote or advertise that party’s business (commercial or charitable) in a way that implies association with the University. For clarification, this also includes the use of University’s trademarks when UW is a sponsoring entity.

Institutional marks: The block “W’, university seal, general campus images, the terms “UW” and “University of Washington”, lockups including department/school names with or without the block “W”.

Athletic marks: The block “W” with the outline, athletically-related images (including athletic competitions and facility photographs), DUBS’ name and likeness, Harry the Husky name and likeness, the Husky helmet, “Go Purple, Be Gold”, and all word marks in Husky Bold (Washington, Huskies, Dawgs, etc).

Examples of promotional uses

Retail promotional items: Any product produced with the University name and/or trademarks that is sold or given away at a retail location as part of a specific promotion.

Event promotional items: Any product produced with the University name and/or trademarks that is given away at a campus event

Promotional materials: Event or promotional materials that include sponsor names/logos in conjunction with UW trademarks.

Sponsor advertising: Any printed piece, radio and TV advertising used to show sponsor’s relationship with a specific UW department or activity.

UW as sponsoring entity: Any promotional items or materials produced that use University marks to identify a department or entity as a sponsor of a non-UW event or activity.