Brand Protection FAQ

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(link is external)

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's 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(link is external), 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(link sends e-mail)) 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 that are protected by common law: We recommend you include the trademark notice “™” to the lower right of the mark

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

For all inquiries, please contact BCBP at bcbp@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail).

For broadcast media, please visit the Media Relations' website(link is external) for information.

For commercial filming or photography, please visit Real Estate Services’ website(link is external) 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(link is external). Faculty/staff may order business cards and letterhead from UC Print Storefront(link is external). 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 that an outside entity is engaged in the unauthorized use of the University’s name or other trademarks, who should I contact?

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.

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. BCBP will make the determination based on a number of factors. 

Any commercial organization, company, manufacturer, or business wishing to use the University’s trademarks for commercial purposes must obtain a license to do so. For information about the University's Licensing Program, including information on making internal purchases through BearBuy, retail licensing information, and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Licensing website(link is external).

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

You may submit a Trademark Use Request Form(link is external) to receive permission to use the University's trademarks. However, please note that any such use would have to meet certain criteria, including University policy and California law, and must be authorized in advance. We cannot guarantee that your request will be granted.

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. Please submit a Trademark Use Request Form(link is external) during the beginning stages of the process. However, please note that any such use would have to meet certain criteria, including University policy and California law, and must be authorized in advance. We cannot guarantee that your request will be granted.

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

More information is available at the University of California's Brand Guidelines(link is external) Graphic Identity and Resources page and at Berkeley’s Brand Guidelines(link is external) website.

Additional guidelines, policies, and frequently asked questions are also available on our website at: https://bcbp.berkeley.edu/brand-protection/brand-protection-resources-and-policies

You may always contact BCBP at bcbp@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail), and we will do our best to answer your question.