Trademarks & Licensing

Trademark registration

If your department or program is interested in registering a trademark, please read the following information and fill out the UW trademark questionnaire (PDF). Send completed UW trademark questionnaires with collateral materials to Sam Harasen, UW Trademarks and Licensing (UWTL) manages the UW’s trademark portfolio, including federal, state and international trademarks.


A trademark is a word, logo or package design, or any combination of these, used by an entity to identify its goods and services and distinguish them from others. Trademarks include brand names identifying goods (Dole for canned pineapple) and trade dress consisting of the graphics, color or shape of packaging or after sufficient use, of goods (Coca-Cola Bottle for a soft drink); service marks identifying services (McDonald’s for a restaurant service); certification marks identifying goods or services meeting specified qualifications (Woolmark for apparel made of 100% wool); and collective marks identifying goods, services or members of a collective organization (The International Game Fish Association for a game fishing organization). The same legal principles generally apply to all of these terms, often called “marks.”

Obtaining trademark rights

  • You do not need to register a trademark to have protectable exclusive rights in it. Simply by using a mark on or in connection with goods, or by displaying the mark in the sale or advertising of services, you can automatically acquire trademark rights in the geographic area of use. The best way to protect a trademark is to ensure that it is used consistently and for a long period of time. Trademark protection begins with disciplined use rather than upon registration.
  • Usage is the most significant factor for trademark protection in the United States. Consistent use is the means through which trademark rights are established. Certain circumstances determine whether it is appropriate to register a mark.