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Trademark Licensing Policy


Provide information and guidelines to the University community and the public regarding the use of the University’s Marks; to protect the University’s Marks and to promote the University.

Applies to: 

University of Kansas and University of Kansas Medical Center faculty, staff, students, academic departments, student groups, and the public

Juniper Gardens
Medical Center, Kansas City
Policy Statement: 

I. Background 

The University of Kansas benefits from the public recognition of its names, symbols, logos, trademarks, servicemarks, designs, and seals, or any combination of these (“Marks”). Federal, state, and common laws govern the University’s rights to its Marks. In order to comply with and assure protection under trademark laws, the University of Kansas initiated a licensing program in 1978 and entered into a formal arrangement for a national program in 1982. Responsibility for the Trademark Licensing Program now resides in Kansas Athletics, Inc. (Kansas Athletics). The Program has four main objectives:

  • Protection of all Marks that relate to The University of Kansas (or have come to be associated with the University), and to ensure that the Marks are used in a manner that is consistent with the mission of the University and reflects favorably on the University.
  • Promote the University in a consistent and uniform manner to protect the University’s reputation, name, and image.
  • Produce revenue to pay for the expense of operating the Program and for programs and scholarships at the University and Kansas Athletics.
  • Protect the consumer from deception or from faulty or inferior products and services bearing the University's Marks.

Any promotion referencing the University and/or University Marks requires express prior written authorization. Unauthorized use of the Marks is subject to state and federal laws and use of the University’s Marks without authorization is strictly prohibited. Prior authorization of the use of the University’s Marks shall not be construed as an authorization of use in the future, nor will any prior course of conduct, use, or infringement prohibit the University from enforcing any of its rights with respect to the Marks. Marks that are obsolete or replaced by updated Marks continue to be protected and owned by the University.

II. Administration of the Program 

The University has assigned Kansas Athletics the responsibility for the administration of the University's Trademark Licensing Program for all University of Kansas locations and Marks. The Trademark Licensing Director has the responsibility for the operational management of the Trademark Licensing Program and implementing policies and procedures established by University and Kansas Athletics' representatives.

The University has contracted with The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) to assist Kansas Athletics in protecting and controlling the use of all Marks. Individuals or businesses interested in becoming licensed with The University of Kansas are encouraged to contact CLC for information on becoming a licensee and to start the process of becoming an officially licensed vendor.

III. Licensing Standards 

The Trademark Licensing Director shall approve or deny each use of the University’s Marks. Licensees or those seeking authorization to use University Marks shall submit each proposed use, product or design to the Trademark Licensing Office or its authorized agent, CLC (for commercial products), for approval prior to production and sale. The University’s Marks are intended to present a positive and consistent image and may not be altered from the approved artwork guide in any way.

The University will not approve the use of its Marks on or to promote the following products: tobacco, illegal substances, sexually suggestive designs, religiously affiliated products, political campaigns, or promotions of political causes. Use of University trademarks in the promotion, sponsorship, or sale of 1) Alcoholic beverages, or 2) Lottery/gaming related assets, must be approved in advance by the Chancellor's Executive Committee and Kansas Athletics and shall follow all applicable laws, regulations, and policies. In addition, the University will not approve the use of its Marks with other accompanying text or graphics that are judged to denigrate any group, including another college or university, or infringe on the rights of other known trademark owners. The University will not license products that do not meet minimum standards of quality and/or good taste or are judged to be dangerous or carry high product liability risks. The University will not approve the use of its Marks on any product or design that may violate NCAA rules. Designs incorporating jersey numbers, except on authentic or replica merchandise, photos or any other likeness of a current student-athlete, names of student-athletes, or nicknames of student-athletes, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are subject to all NCAA rules. The University’s Marks cannot be used in promoting services or on a product in a way that could state or imply an endorsement by the University, except that Kansas Athletics reserves the rights for promotional use through its media rights holder. The University reserves the right to prohibit other uses that it deems inappropriate or inconsistent with the image and mission of an educational institution.

IV. Licensing Arrangements 

A. Commercial Use

A license is required for any individual, organization, or company wishing to use the University’s Marks for a commercial use or in its company name. The Trademark License Office must approve all commercial uses prior to production and sale. A standard royalty payment of at least 12 percent of the wholesale selling cost must be submitted for each item sold. In those instances where the manufacturer is the wholesaler and the retailer, the royalty rate will be based on 50 percent of retail cost, not wholesale value. A license is not required for advertisements promoting the sale of licensed products. Such advertisements, however, are limited to depicting the licensed product that is being advertised.

Limited term agreements may be granted to those private artisans engaged in the limited production and distribution of arts and crafts items (including, but not limited to fabric, leather work, glass, ceramics, and paintings). This agreement shall be for a period of one year or less and the cost will be based upon the number of items produced and the production costs associated with the product. This license is handled directly with the Trademark Licensing Office and does not require an agreement with CLC.

The University of Kansas Alumni Association (KUAA) shall enter into a license agreement with the University for the use of any University Mark. Commercial uses of any Mark must be approved by the Trademark Licensing Office. Merchandise sold to and then resold by the Alumni Association to its membership as part of its fund-raising efforts will be exempt from royalties. However, all merchandise shall be produced by a current trademark licensee, and as such, sales will be reported each quarter along with its regular royalty report. If KUAA initiates a project that is unique and involves items that are not currently being produced by licensees, a separate agreement with KUAA, Kansas Athletics, and the vendor is required. Samples and artwork used must be submitted to the Trademark Licensing Director for approval prior to production.

B. Internal Use

Campus departments and offices may use the University Marks for nominative purposes pursuant to the current University of Kansas Graphic Identity Standards and as approved by the Chief Marketing Officer. Products created by a university department for resale or departmental promotional use that bear the Marks must receive prior approval of the Trademark Licensing Office and be produced by an officially licensed vendor.

Registered student, campus or community groups desiring to use the University’s Marks must submit all designs to the Trademark Licensing Office for approval prior to production. All designs must conform to established standards for use of the University’s Marks as well as adhere to all University policies—including University Events Committee approval when necessary.

Only licensed vendors will be approved for the production and sale of products depicting the University Marks. The Office of Trademark Licensing keeps a list of all manufacturers that are licensed and will provide a copy of this list to any recognized department or organization of the University that wishes to obtain products for general distribution.

C. Special Events

Arrangements for special event T-shirts, merchandise, or departmental items should be coordinated through the Trademark Licensing Director to ensure that the manufacturers are officially licensed to use University Marks.

A rights fee may be charged a business sponsoring a promotion at any athletic event. This rights fee is paid to Kansas Athletics for the right to promote at its athletic facilities. A separate rights fee may be paid by the sponsoring business for the use of any Marks used in any manner during the promotion. Any fee shall be agreed upon and submitted prior to the beginning of the promotion period. A signed license agreement will be required that outlines the specifics of the promotion, promotion length, and detailed description of the proposed use of the marks. No agreements shall be signed that conflict with the Trademark Licensing Operating Agreement between the University and Kansas Athletics. Novelties, merchandise, or other goods used in an athletic promotion and that bear the University Marks must be purchased from official licensees of the University.

V. Distribution of Revenue 

Net revenues are distributed in accordance with the Trademark Licensing Operating Agreement.

VI. Compliance 

Persons or entities that use the University’s Marks without permission are subject to civil and criminal penalties pursuant to trademark law. The University reserves the right to pursue any and all legal remedies and will take whatever measures necessary to protect its Marks from infringement.


Chief Marketing Officer
KU Marketing 
Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W Campus Rd. 
Lawrence, Kansas 66045


Trademark Licensing Director
Office of Trademark Licensing
Kansas Athletics, 1412 Wagnon
1651 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-3877 (fax)

Approved by: 
Approved on: 
Wednesday, November 23, 1988
Effective on: 
Wednesday, November 23, 1988
Review Cycle: 
Biennial (Every Two Years)

Commercial Use: a business undertaking with the intent to make a profit.

Infringement: unauthorized use of a trademark or servicemark that belongs to another, or use of a trademark or servicemark so similar to that of another as to cause the likelihood of confusion in the minds of the public as to the source (affiliation or sponsorship) of the product or service.

Licensee: an individual or company who enters into a Licensing Agreement.

Licensing: the process of obtaining legal permission through a Licensing Agreement from the University for the right to use the University Marks.

Registered Trademark: a trademark that has been registered with the federal government at the US Patent and Trademark Office or The Secretary of State for the State of Kansas.

Servicemark: the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Trademark: 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.

University Marks and Marks: any and all names, logos, trademarks, servicemarks, word marks, insignias, designs, seals, or other images, whether or not registered, used by the University of Kansas.

University of Kansas, KU, University of Kansas Medical Center, KUMC, trademark, trademark licensing, servicemark, University Marks, Marks, Registered Trademark, Licensing, Licensee, Infringement, Commercial use, The Collegiate Licensing Company, CLC, Kansas Athletics, University of Kansas Graphic Identity Standards, Visual Identity, Trademark Licensing Operating Agreement, infringement
Change History: 

05/10/2024: Updated Director of Marketing Communications to Chief Marketing Officer; Updated contact for Chief Marketing Officer. 
08/11/2022: Technical edits: corrected typos and formatting.
09/10/2021: Updated to reflect existing and expanded practices; added KUMC campus to policy. 
05/21/2014: Technical edits: updated formatting and corrected links
07/09/2013: Review and updates provided by Paul Vander Tuig, Director of Trademark Licensing and David Duncil, Interim Director of Marketing Communications. Updated section IV.A to reflect current royalty rate. Replaced references to “University Relations” to “Marketing Communications, Office of Public Affairs.” Replaced outdated references to “Art Director for University Relations” with “Director of Marketing Communications.” Updated Trademark Licensing contact information.
04/07/2009: Reviewed for accuracy; no changes made.
04/2008: Periodic revisions thereafter, most recently in April 2008.
11/23/1988: Trademark Licensing Program policies and procedures approved by the Chancellor.
1982: Formal arrangement for a national program completed.
1978: Licensing program initiated.

Academic Categories: 
Intellectual Property
Operational Categories: 

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