Trademarks and Licensing
At Carolina, 100% of the net proceeds from the licensing program helps fund need-based and merit-based scholarships.
Since UNC-Chapel Hill was established, and as traditions began and evolved, a variety of logos (symbols or designs), verbiage (words, names, phrases or groups of letters), and landmarks came to signify the University.
The University, like virtually all other institutions and businesses in the United States, has developed policies controlling the use of trademark language and logos because these marks symbolize its purpose, values and traditions. In addition, when businesses make use of these marks to generate revenues, the University shares in the proceeds through its Trademark Licensing Program. The language and logos protected by the University include, but are not limited to, the words “University of North Carolina”, “North Carolina”, “Carolina”, “UNC”, “Tar Heels”, “Heels” and logos of the Old Well, the University seal, the interlocking NC, the Tar Heel foot and the Strutting Ram.
If you have questions about using any of these marks, please refer to the appropriate category in this site, or contact the Director of Trademarks and Licensing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-962-2403.
Student groups are designated as “affiliated” by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs through the activities office of Carolina Union. As organizations, they may use University marks for identification and fund raising within the framework of applicable University policy.
Printed materials — including but not limited to signs, brochures, handbills, advertisements, banners and handouts — for use on campus do not need prior approval as long as uses of University marks are in accordance with the Stylesheet. Materials bearing University marks which will be distributed off campus must either be printed by Student Stores Printing, or be approved in advance and in writing by the Office of Trademarks and Licensing.
Affiliated student groups may place University marks on websites on University-owned servers, in accordance with University policy regarding websites.
Affiliated student groups may purchase merchandise bearing University marks but, all such purchases must be from licensed manufacturers. See the list of Local Printers that have expressed a willingness to produce special-order merchandise for campus groups. These vendors will submit your designs to the Trademarks and Licensing Office for approval. In general, the use of a University mark along with your organization’s name or special event will receive approval.
If the merchandise is for the student members of the organization, the vendor will not have to pay royalties on the items. This should be reflected in the price to the organization. If the merchandise is for resale, even as a fund-raiser for charity, royalties will need to be paid.
In order for a business–which includes individuals–to make a commercial use of the University’s name or any of its other marks, that business must have permission to do so. Permission must be acquired either by a formal contract with the University or by obtaining a license through the University’s licensing agent, IMG College Licensing. Contractual permissions are specialized and are negotiated through the University’s attorneys, and therefore are not covered on this website.
The University directs IMG College Licensing (IMG) to contract with a limited number of producers in order to make goods bearing University marks available for retail sale to the public. IMG issues licensing agreements for a limited number of suppliers in each of a broad range of merchandise categories. Both the business and the individual products that business produces must be approved in advance and in writing; when so approved the business becomes a “Licensee” and the individual products become “Licensed Products.”
The University, also through IMG, licenses on a very restricted basis the promotional use of University marks.
The normal steps in obtaining a license include the following:
- A preliminary assessment, first, of the ability of the business to produce and distribute goods in accordance with University expectations; and second, of the market demand and competition levels for the envisioned goods;
- The signing of a contract between IMG and the business;
- Approval steps for each individual design.
If you are interested in obtaining a retail license, which allows you to produce goods bearing University marks, or a promotional license, which allows you to use University marks, you should contact IMG College Licensing.
Departments may not use University marks in conjunction with those of commercial entities without either explicit, written permission from Trademarks and Licensing, or an approved University contract providing for such uses.
Use of The University Seal (Latin version) in gold, gold leaf or gold foil must be authorized by the University Registrar or by the Office of the Chancellor.
University departments may purchase goods bearing University marks. Please refer to Purchasing Logoed Merchandise for additional information on this process.
Exception: Organizations may use the University’s name as a geographical reference point as long as such use does not produce confusion as to whether that organization is in any way associated with the University.