Frequently Asked Questions

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a device (such as a name, icon, insignia, symbol) which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.

Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark. Trademarks which are used in interstate or foreign commerce may be registered with the Patent and Trademark Office.

What are Yale’s trademarks?

Yale University’s trademark registrations include “YALE,” “YALE UNIVERSITY,” and the “LUX ET VERITAS” shield; and several other marks associated with the University, such as “Y”, Yale College, the residential college names and shields, the graduate and professional school shields, and the “YALE BULLDOG” icon. An “®” must appear on all products bearing Yale’s registered marks; a “TM” must appear on products containing any of Yale’s marks that are not yet registered.

Who is responsible for the protection of the Yale name?

The Vice President of the University is charged by the Yale Corporation with the responsibility of ensuring that the Yale name and trademarks are used properly. This duty is fulfilled through the Yale University Licensing Program.

What is the purpose of the Yale University Licensing Program?

The main purpose of the Program is to ensure that the Yale name and trademarks are used appropriately, in good taste, and with high-quality reproduction. The Program seeks to avoid misrepresentation of the University to the public.

Who must be licensed?

Any person, business, or organization interested in using the Yale name or trademarks for any purpose must secure the prior approval of the Yale University Licensing Program.

What products can be licensed?

Many products will be considered for a license. Licensed products include clothing (t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, pants, caps, and children’s clothes), pennants and banners, key chains, watches, glassware, and other gifts. Among the products that the University does not license are alcoholic beverages, tobacco and smoking products, sexually oriented goods, barbecue grills, weapons, goods related to gambling or lotteries, and products in “poor taste.” Yale reserves the right to refuse a license to any person, business, or organization.

May I use the Yale name or trademarks on a custom-made gift?

Permission to use the Yale name or trademarks on a custom-made product may, on a case-by-case basis, be given if that gift cannot be purchased from a licensed retailer and if it is intended for the personal use of a member of the Yale community (faculty, staff, alumni). Inquiries and requests for permission should be directed to the Yale Licensing Program.
One time use agreement.

How does licensing affect students?

Anyone interested in using the Yale name or trademarks for any purpose must secure the prior approval of the Yale University Licensing Program. Sales of products bearing a Yale trademark by University departments and authorized student groups are usually exempt from the royalty charge as long as the products are for internal use, to be given away, or, if for sale to the public, are sold directly (not via a retailer) with all proceeds benefiting the department or student group. Approval for designs must be obtained in advance from the Yale University Licensing Program. Yale College students or student groups wishing to use the Yale name must comply with the Undergraduate Regulations.

What steps does Yale take to ensure that Yale merchandise is produced in fair and humane working conditions?

Yale is committed to working to achieve fair and humane working conditions for all involved in the manufacture of its licensed goods. We believe that the most effective approach requires a rational system for gathering and analyzing facts about the industry and using this information to realize the goal of improved working conditions. Yale was a leader in the formation of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and continues to work closely with the FLA. Yale sponsors internships and other opportunities for students to participate in this process. Licensees are required to adopt the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and to comply with FLA requirements.

In specific cases, Yale may elect to issue a license to a vendor who can demonstrate compliance with standards that meet or exceed those of the FLA.

What should I do if I see an item that appears to use the Yale name or trademarks improperly?

With the use of commercial services and the help of alumni, students, and friends, the Yale University Licensing Program monitors the marketplace to ensure that only officially licensed merchandise is being sold. Please report any potential violations of the University’s trademark rights to the Yale University Licensing Program.

How do I obtain a reproduction of a work of art or permission to reproduce art owned by Yale’s galleries?

Please contact the Yale University Art Gallery or the Yale Center for British Art directly about works in their collections.

How do I find information in the Yale archives?

Historical items, including documents, photographs, maps, and other material, are available to researchers through the Manuscripts and Archives Department in Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library.

Where can I buy Yale insignia goods?