Trademark Licensing Policy
Date Enacted or Revised: July 26, 2012; Revised January 5, 2016; March 18, 2022; April 23, 2023
In 2006, McNeese State University created its trademark management and licensing program to establish a foundation for promoting and protecting the use of its trademarks. To enhance these efforts, the University has a contract with IMG College Licensing (CLC), the nation’s leading collegiate licensing and marketing representative, to enhance the University’s efforts in this area.
The Office of Marketing and Communications (MarCom) oversees the University’s licensing program and manages the following processes:
- Determining which trademarks should be legally protected for proper marketing of McNeese State University and initiating the development of new trademarks, eliminating old ones as deemed necessary or desirable, subject to the approval of the president;
- Ensuring proper use and application of the trademarks that have become associated with McNeese State University;
- Strengthening the trademarks through cobranding and licensing relationships with retailers, licensees, campus departments, student organizations, alumni, and fans; and
- Generating revenue that funds marketing and branding initiatives.
A trademark (or mark) is any logo, symbol, nickname, letter(s), word, slogan, or derivative that can be associated with an organization, company, manufacturer, or institution and can be distinguished from those of other entities or competitors.
In addition to the marks listed above, any indicia adopted hereafter and used or approved for use by McNeese State University shall be subject to the policies and procedures of the trademark licensing program. Additionally, any derivations of the University marks which would cause consumers to erroneously believe that the product originated from or was sponsored or authorized by the University shall also be covered by the trademark licensing program policies and procedures.
Any business or individual interested in manufacturing products that will be sold to the general public or to campus departments and organizations through retail distribution channels (including the internet) must obtain a license through CLC. The basic requirements for licensing include submitting the completed application, providing proof of product liability insurance, signing a license agreement (and authorized manufacturer agreements, if needed), signing the labor code agreement, paying the applicable advance, getting all designs and products approved, and reporting royalties on the sale of McNeese merchandise.
McNeese State University reserves the right to prohibit use of its trademarks with certain issues and products, such as alcohol, tobacco, candidates for public office, and those products that infringe upon another entity’s trademarks or would be considered in poor taste by the general public. The University will not license products that do not meet minimum standards of quality, good taste, are dangerous, or carry high liability risks.
Use of a University mark with an organization name implies association with the University. Therefore, only those student organizations that are officially recognized by the Office of Student Services and official campus departments are allowed to use McNeese trademarks in conjunction with their organization’s name.
Any product bearing McNeese State University trademarks or a specific departmental logo must be purchased from licensed manufacturers. Using an officially licensed company to manufacture a product ensures that the company has provided the correct product liability insurance and signed the University’s labor code of conduct agreement. The University has many nationwide licensees and numerous in-state and locally licensed companies. A list of licensees by product category can be obtained from the MarCom Office.
To ensure consistency in the use of the McNeese name and logos, all product designs must be approved by the MarCom Office before production. In most cases, the manufacturer can submit the design for approval on behalf of the organization/department. However, if there are questions concerning the design, the organization’s representative may contact the MarCom Office directly.
Recognized student organizations and campus departments may include sponsor names/logos on promotional items in conjunction with the University marks under the following conditions:
- The student organization/department’s name must be included to communicate that the relationship is a partnership with a particular group and not an endorsement by the University as a whole;
- The use of the University marks in conjunction with sponsor names/logos is considered a promotional item whether sold or given away (contact UML to determine if royalty fees will apply); and
- Based on the scope of the program, a rights fee may be assessed.
In determining exemptions from royalties payments, the University is not required to pay royalties to itself for purchases of services or products that are a necessity for faculty and staff to perform their job (i.e., equipment, services, uniforms, educational tools). However, the University attempts to avoid unfair competition with other retailers and service providers and therefore, may not exempt itself from paying royalties on the purchase of goods that are to be resold to members or to the general public, regardless of the purpose of the sale. Contact the MarCom Office to determine if royalty fees will apply.
The University recognizes that there are many groups that support the University from academics to athletics (i.e., alumni and booster clubs). Use of the University name, likeness, trademarks, brand elements, and other indicia on products that will be sold or given to the public or members by organizations that are not officially affiliated with the University will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If approved, the product must be purchased from a current University licensee. By supporting the University’s licensing initiatives, organizations can assist the University by ensuring that products bearing the University logo are of the highest quality and meet all insurance and contractual requirements. Below are the basic guidelines that will be followed:
- Use of the University’s logo in combination with a non-University organization’s logo on products sold or given to the public or its members requires prior approval from the MarCom Office.
- Businesses may not establish a permanent statue or mural that includes the University trademarks or likeness without written permission from the University.
- Businesses may use, without prior approval, the University trademarks in a non-permanent fixture (i.e., window painting, removable lettering on marquees) supporting a University event.
- Individuals or organizations may not utilize the University’s trademarks in conjunction with a candidate for political office or policy/legislative issue without written permission from the Office of the President.
- Individuals may not use the University trademarks on a website without written permission from the MarCom Office.
- Businesses may not use the University trademarks to promote its products or services in print advertising, radio, or television without written approval from the University.
Licensees or retailers of University merchandise must abide by NCAA rules. The use of the name, likeness, or position number of any student athlete (past, present, or future) is subject to the University’s Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Policy. Rights fees and royalties for the use of the University trademarks in all instances may be assessed.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.