10.12 Licensing, Trademarks and Merchandise


This policy applies to:

  • Wayne State University employees, students and alumni groups sponsoring the production or sale of any goods or services bearing University Trademarks (as defined below) or indicia for sale or giveaways.
  • Manufacturers or distributors of any goods or merchandise bearing University Trademarks.
  • Any external for-or-nonprofit entity or individual seeking to use University Trademarks in any printed or digital collateral materials or media.

Policy Statement:

The University's Trademarks and the reputation they represent are important assets. This policy is intended to promote the proper use of University Trademarks to ensure:

  • The Wayne State University name is protected and its use is compatible with Wayne State's brand.
  • Any products or services that bear University Trademarks are of high quality and used only in connection with products and services that are of the kind and character approved by the University.
  • Any misleading or inaccurate representations of Wayne State's relationship to other entities or activities is prevented, and  others are precluded from taking advantage of the goodwill the university has developed, which is symbolized by the University Trademarks.
  • The products and services bearing the University Trademarks are consistent with and protect the integrity and reputation of Wayne State; maintain and build upon the goodwill of the institution; and promote support for and increase awareness of the institution, its mission and its goals.

Production of WSU-branded apparel or other items:

All merchandising activity, whether internal or external including promotional giveaways must be conducted through a company licensed to use University Trademarks. 

Wayne State University's registered trademarks, as well as other symbols, marks, names, nicknames, seals, logos, mascots, slogans, school colors, landmarks, and other indicia (individually each a "University Trademark" and, collectively, "University Trademarks") that are representative of the University may be used solely with permission of the Wayne State University Office of Marketing and Communications. This includes use by noncommercial groups or individuals, including charities and other nonprofit organizations. Working with Wayne State's licensing agent, approved vendors are required to identify their product with the "Collegiate Licensed Product" label. 

Collegiate Licensed Properties

Use of this label allows alumni, students, fans and supporters to be assured they are buying a product of quality and authenticity that has been manufactured ethically and in accordance with  standards set by the University. Products that do not bear the label, but use the University Trademarks, may constitute infringement of trademark laws.

Items manufactured for internal use, such as by students or staff or affiliates must also be licensed as described above, although they may not need to bear a licensed product tag.


All products bearing a University Trademark, including those products sold to a University-owned or University-affiliated entity, are generally subject to royalty fees if a WSU Trademark is utilized. This includes sales to individual customers, sales for fund-raising projects, sales of items carrying a commercial message or which have a sponsor, items used as promotional marketing tools for an event and items given at conferences/workshops/clinics that are part of the registration fee. 

Royalty exemptions

  • The University concurs in the basic concept that no user of the University Trademarks should be exempt from the University Trademark licensing program and will make good faith efforts to follow this premise.
  • The University reserves the right to grant exemptions to any user of University Trademarks if circumstances warrant that it would be in the best interests of the University to do so. The Office of Marketing and Communications will make any exemption decision.

Officially licensed vendors. Only an officially licensed vendor may produce merchandise bearing University Trademarks. For a list of officially licensed vendors, please contact WSU Licensing.

Use of Trademarks

Sole ownership/copyright. No one other than Wayne State University may claim copyright or trademark rights in or seek to register any wordmark or design that is based on or uses University Trademarks.

No alterations. University Trademarks may not be altered in any way. 

Approvals. Each use of a University Trademark requires approval. Approval to use a University Trademark for a one-time application only (i.e. on a t-shirt) does not constitute approval to use the University Trademark again, or in connection with any other item, or to change the approved design in any way.

Co-branding. University Trademarks may not be used in conjunction with the name or trademark(s) of any other entity without the prior written permission of that entity and Wayne State. If permission is granted by the Office of Marketing and Communications to use both the University Trademark and another party's trademark, the trademarks must be distinct and separate from each other, and the University Trademarks must not be overshadowed or diminished in any way in comparison to the other entity's trademark. Approval of any such dual use of University Trademarks will be limited to instances where there is a compelling institutional interest in allowing such a use.

No endorsement. In the absence of express permission, University Trademarks may not be used in any manner that suggests or implies the University's endorsement of other organizations, companies, products, services, political parties or views, or religious organizations or beliefs.

Non-discrimination. University Trademarks may not be used in any way that discriminates or implies discrimination against any persons or groups based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or military status or in any other way that would be a violation of Wayne State's non-discrimination policies or practices.

Appropriate use of Trademarks

The University reserves the right to disapprove any use of its Trademarks, even if such use is not explicitly prohibited by this policy or these guidelines. In instances where there is uncertainty regarding the appropriate use of any University Trademarks, the Office of Marketing and Communications will consult with Office of the General Counsel.

Policy for internal use

Eligibility: Use of a University Trademark with an organization implies association with the University. Therefore, only Registered Student Organizations ("RSOs") of Wayne State and official University departments or groups are allowed to use University Trademarks in conjunction with their organization's name. University departments, groups or RSOs may not assign University Trademark usage rights, or otherwise grant permission, to any other internal or external entity for any purpose without prior review and approval by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Trademark uses that do not require approval: Some uses of University Trademarks by University departments, groups and RSOs may not require prior approval from the Office of Marketing and Communications. These include:

  • Use of University Trademarks in the ordinary course of conducting University business provided no changes are made to the design or approved colors of University Trademarks, and adhere to both the University Identity Guidelines and other related guidelines in this policy. Examples include the use of University Trademarks on stationery, business cards, reports, official publications, posters, banners and similar materials, and materials used in academic courses.
  • Any questions regarding use of University Trademarks for these internal purposes should be directed to the Office of Marketing and Communications.