Skip to main content

Trademark Licensing Policy

Northwestern University owns and controls its name(s) and other marks, logos, insignias, seals, designs, and symbols (hereafter, "marks" or "trademarks") that have become associated with the University. Examples of our trademarks are the Northwestern official seal, the name Northwestern, Northwestern Wildcats, etc.

The Northwestern University Trademark Licensing Program protects the integrity of the University's identifying marks. The program also:

This policy statement provides guidance on permissible use and restrictions on the use of the University's names and marks. It also clarifies responsibility for granting permissions and license requirements.

Licensing Requirements

University Schools, Departments, and Affiliated Organizations

Athletic Department Official Sponsors

Unacceptable Products/Services

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.

Advertising in Publications

Northwestern University and University affiliated organizations that accept commercial advertising for their publications and programs will screen all advertisers for compliance with the University's Trademark Licensing Program. Advertising from non-licensed manufacturers of trademarked products or advertisements using Northwestern's marks without a license will not be accepted for publication.

Compliance Program

The Trademark Licensing Office will maintain a compliance program in the local area. The University's licensing agent will handle national compliance.

Royalties and Fees

The University assesses royalties on net, wholesale sales. Royalties will be charged for promotional and/or advertising licenses. Royalties generated by the licensing program are transferred to the University's General Fund.

Royalty Exemptions

University schools, departments, students, and affiliated groups that order items imprinted with Northwestern's name and marks may be exempt from paying royalties if:

To become eligible for the royalty exemption, contact Ellen Barnes and state how the item will be used and the name of the company the item will be purchased from.

Please note that only licensed manufacturers may reproduce the University's name and marks. If the company you have chosen is not licensed, the Trademark Licensing Office will recommend a licensed company or may license the company of your choice on a special, limited-term basis.

Trademark Licensing Office

Auxiliary Services is responsible for the administration of the Northwestern University Trademark Licensing Program.


Unauthorized use of a trademark, or use of a trademark so similar that it causes confusion in the mind of the public as to the source affiliation or sponsorship of the product or service.

License Agreement
Royalty-bearing contract between licensor (NU) and a manufacturer or manufacturer's representative who is licensed to produce specific products bearing one or more of the licensor's trademarks.

One who contracts to allow another (licensee) to use the licensor's property (trademark) in exchange for payment.

Registered Mark
A trademark that has been registered with the Federal government through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Federal registration provides additional protection and remedies for trademark infringement.

A word or device associated with a person, company, association, or business.