What is a trademark?

A trademark is a form of intellectual property that identifies and distinguishes the goods and/or services of one organization from those of another. Trademarks can be distinctive words (known as word marks), designs (i.e., logos), letters, colors, sounds, or landmarks separately or in combination. Visit our Trademarks page for a list of some of UC Berkeley’s trademarks.

Is the University's name a trademark?

Yes. The University’s name and its abbreviations are considered trademarks since they identify the source of the goods and services available at or produced by the University. Thus, “University of California Berkeley,” “UC Berkeley,” and even “Berkeley” are among our trademarks. We also consider the University’s domain name, “Berkeley.edu,” to be a trademark. All University of California trademarks (those associated with UC campuses, labs, and Office of the President) belong to The Regents of the University of California. The University’s name is further protected and its use governed by California Education Code 92000

What are UC Berkeley's trademarks?

Trademarks that are associated with or refer to the University of California, Berkeley are included in our family of “global” marks. Many of these global marks, such as the University’s name and its variations, “Cal” in script, the Berkeley seal, and others have been registered in the United States and in several international territories.

Additional trademarks may include names of our schools, departments, programs and/or initiatives. Examples include: “Haas School of Business,” “Leading through Innovation,” “Cal Recreational Sports,” “Students. Athletes. For Life.,” “Berkeley Law,” “The Berkeley Institute of the Environment,” “The Scholars Workstation,” “Cal Student Store,” and “Zellerbach Hall.”

Even the campus' domain name, "berkeley.edu" is considered a trademark.

Should I seek a federal registration for a trademark representing my department, school, program, or initiative?

It depends. In the United States, trademarks are provided “common law” rights and protection. Further, since many departments, schools, programs, and initiatives include “University of California Berkeley,” “UC Berkeley,” “Cal” in script, or the Berkeley seal, which have all been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, these trademarks are afforded the additional protections available from federal registration. All of these marks and many more have been registered in various international territories. To see a list of trademarks that have been registered in international territories, visit our Trademarks page.

If you believe the name of your department, school, program, or initiative may be exploited by others in the United States or an international territory, you may wish to apply for trademark registration. Please note that you will be required to pay for the application and any legal fees that may be associated with the registration. We recommend setting aside approximately $3,000 per trademark and classification, for an application in the U.S. as this will help to cover legal and government fees.  If the registration is opposed by an individual or company that believes they have a similar trademark the cost could be significantly more.  

Seeking a trademark registration in an international territory is much more complex so the Office of General Counsel will usually retain a law firm located in the territory in which a registration is sought.  Unlike in the U.S., where common law rights are granted to trademark owners who have used their trademark in interstate commerce, some countries require a trademark owner to register a name, logo, etc., before it is granted trademark status.  Application fees vary greatly according to the international territories in which the registrations are sought.  Again, there is no guarantee that simply seeking a trademark registration will result in  acquiring one.  Feel free to contact Business Contracts and Brand Protection bcbp@berkeley.edu  for advice

What types of notices should accompany a UC Berkeley trademark?

Registered trademarks: We recommend you add the registration designation, “®” to the lower right of the mark. Although registration designations are not required, they are strongly recommended to denote ownership and protection from infringement.

Unregistered marks which are protected by common law: We recommend you include the trademark notice “™” to the lower right of the mark.

What if can't find the answer to my question here?

More information is available at the University of California's Graphic Identity and Resources page http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/graphicresources/welcome.php

Additional guidelines, policies, and frequently asked questions are also available at the following sites:
University of California Policies and Guidelines
University of California Seal
University of California Letterheads and Business Cards
University Name and Other University Trademarks

You may always contact Business Contracts and Brand Protection, bcbp@berkeley.edu, or 510.642.9120 and we will do our best to answer your question.

Who should I contact if I want to film or take photographs at UC Berkeley?

For broadcast media, please visit the Media Relations website.

For commercial filming or photography, please visit Real Estate Services’ website for information.

Are there policies that govern Use of the University’s name on business cards and letterhead?

Yes. The University of California Office of the President policies on business cards and letterhead are available here. Faculty/staff may order business cards and letterhead from UCSF Document, Media &Mail. In general, students may not acquire University business cards unless there is a campus need and responsibility for appropriate use of the business card is monitored by an appropriate dean or department chair.

If I discover UC Berkeley-logoed merchandise is of inferior quality or I don’t believe it is being produced by a licensed vendor, who should I contact?

You may contact Dan Perkins, who is the liaison for the University's retail licensing agent, CLC, at  perkins77@berkeley.edu or submit a Trademark Misuse Report to BCBP for review and investigation.

If I discover that UC Berkeley’s name and other trademarks appear in print or online advertising, and I’m not sure the University has authorized the use, who should I contact?

First, thank you for helping us protect UC Berkeley’s intellectual property rights. If you complete our Report a Trademark Misuse Form, we will be able to initiate an investigation to determine if our rights have been violated and, if so, begin the process to reclaim those rights.

What types of licenses are available and who should I contact?

Visit this link for information regarding the types of licenses available and the process for seeking permission regarding commercial use of the University's name and other trademarks.  Also on the site are lists of the Local, Restricted, and Standard Licensees authorized to produce UC Berkeley branded goods.

Why do I need to use a trademark licensee to produce my merchandise?

Trademark Licensees agree to:

  • Uphold the University’s reputation by placing our trademarks on quality merchandise
  • Use the trademark as required by United States or international laws and/or University/UC Berkeley policies
  • Comply with the University of California Code of Conduct for Trademark Licensees, which helps to ensure that workers manufacturing our logoed goods are treated humanely and with respect
  • Hold the University harmless from liability
Do I need to pay a fee to use a trademark?

Fees/royalties are usually not assessed when UC Berkeley’s trademarks are used in connection with campus goods/services, placed on merchandise for our own use, or resold to support a campus program or initiative. Business Contracts and Brand Protection will make the determination based on a number of factors, such as the number of items ordered, if the items will be gifts, for promotional use during specific events, or if resold, the proceeds must benefit the UC Berkeley department/school selling the items. We do require, however, that you use a licensed vendor to produce the goods.

Fees and/or royalties may apply for other commercial uses.

How do I request permission to use UC Berkeley’s trademarks?

You may submit a completed Trademark Use Request Form to receive permission to use the University’s trademarks. If your request is approved, BCBP is also able to provide you with one or more versions of our registered trademarks.

Those who wish to use the University’s trademark on merchandise for resale in the U.S. or internationally, should contact Matt Terwilliger, Assistant Athletic Director-Business Development, at mterwill@berkeley.edu or UC Berkeley’s licensing agent, the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC).

May I alter a trademark?

No. UC Berkeley trademarks may not be altered, combined with trademarks that belong to others, or modified in any way that would diminish the integrity of the trademark. To do so, could jeopardize our rights to the trademark.

Is it possible to create a logo/trademark to represent an official UC Berkeley department, program, or initiative?

Yes. The campus has many official programs and services, associated with its education, research, and public service mission, which are targeted to specific internal and external groups, so it may be necessary to create a new logo for branding and marketing purposes. We strongly recommend, however, that you consider the campus’ overall branding strategy and trademark protection efforts when you begin the development process. Please feel free to consult with Business Contracts and Brand Protectionbcbp@berkeley.edu,  or 510.642.9120, during the beginning stages of the process. Affiliate and student organizations may be governed by specific University or UC Berkeley policies which limit or exclude use of the University’s trademarks for purposes other than identification.

Are there guidelines for using UC Berkeley’s name and other trademarks?

Yes. Please visit UC Berkeley's Trademark Use Guidelines.

If you are a member of the UC Berkeley community, you may also wish to visit the University’s Identity Resources site.

Who do I contact if I wish to use a trademark belonging to another UC campus, lab, or Office of the President?