Trademark Licensing Policy
Boston University requires licenses for products featuring our name, logos, and other marks as a way to preserve our reputation as a center of academic excellence and outstanding athletic performance—a reputation we all work hard to maintain and exceed. The funds we take in from commercial licensing further our mission by supporting scholarship, student activities, and athletics programs.
Boston University asserts ownership and all right, title, and interest in and to its indicia, including all trademarks, service marks, mascots, slogans, and any other identifying marks associated with or referring to the University. Monitoring and licensing of BU trademarks is handled in partnership with IMG College Licensing (IMGCL).
- INDICIA = identifying marks
- INSIGNIA = a distinguishing sign
- TRADEMARK = a name, symbol, or other device identifying a product, officially registered and restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer
BU prevents misrepresentation of its mission, goals, and reputation through careful monitoring of products carrying our indicia. Every use of BU registered marks and logos must be approved. Products licensed to use BU’s identifying marks must be of high quality and good taste. Careful product selection also minimizes liabilities. BU does not license the following under any circumstances:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Inherently dangerous products
- Obscene or disparaging products
- Sexually suggestive products
- Health- and beauty-related products
- Business names and logos
- Services, unless authorized by the Office of the General Counsel
In addition, BU does not permit any other institution or business to use its identifying graphics. Private and/or corporate businesses are not allowed to use BU indicia in their business names. University indicia cannot be incorporated into external, unapproved business telephone numbers, internet addresses, or internet domain names.
Any person, business, or organization must obtain a license to use Boston University’s trademarks in any manner and for any purpose.
IMG College Licensing (IMGCL) handles access and approval for all BU’s registered marks and logos. IMGCL administers all external requests for use of BU indicia.
Advertisers and corporate sponsors interested in using BU indicia must also apply through IMGCL.
Companies that have done work for the University may list BU’s name with other customers. These companies may include photographs—provided they are generic to the location—of the actual work area.
Boston University schools, colleges, departments, centers, institutes, and organizations are exempt from paying royalties if the merchandise is for internal use and not for resale. Office supplies usually comprise merchandise for internal use, while apparel items are generally not for internal use.
BU entities may use our indicia to promote their activities on posters advertising events, programs, etc., and brochures, stationery, etc., but must adhere to the BU brand and identity standards. Logos and University indicia are available for staff and faculty to download from this site using their Kerberos login, with the exception of athletics marks.
The following nine BU Athletics marks have been approved for internal use.
All requests and design approval for use of athletics marks should be submitted through the IMG College Licensing website. IMGCL will provide authorized manufacturers with the high-res files required for production.
To ensure quality, consistency, and the appropriateness of a product’s design, purchases from non-BU agencies or providers must be made from approved or licensed vendors—even when products are royalty-exempt. IMGCL maintains a searchable approved vendor list through its official buyers’ guide, the IMG College Licensing Licensee Search.
All BU schools, colleges, departments, centers, institutes, and organizations that produce publications must require any advertisers of products bearing University indicia in publications or in athletic or special event programs to be licensed.
Registered student organizations are considered Boston University entities, and are exempt from royalties for products that are not for resale. However, any uses of BU’s registered marks and logos must be approved beforehand by the Student Activities office. Products must be ordered from approved licensed vendors. IMG College Licensing will provide vendors with the high-res files for production. The Student Activities office maintains a vendor book to help students find suitable vendors. Any use of BU marks and logos must conform to BU’s brand identity standards.
Registered organizations may not use the marks in any way that would constitute an endorsement, approval, or underwriting of any organization, product, activity, service, or contract by Boston University.
Unofficial organizations may not use any BU indicia without first becoming registered through the Student Activities office.
News media references to Boston University to identify the University for informational purposes are not subject to our licensing program.
We consider schedule cards or posters that include the University’s name without logos or slogans to be informational use and therefore not subject to the licensing program. Any use of University indicia, other than the name, requires licensing.
Boston University considers photographs of our campus, monuments, and facilities to be informational use and not subject to the licensing program unless the photographs feature University indicia and are exploited commercially. The use of such photography on commercial products requires approval by the University and may require licensure through IMG College Licensing.
Photographs taken at athletic events may only be used for news and editorial purposes.
Any instances of BU licensing program infringement or counterfeit merchandise should be reported through IMG College Licensing. Licensed retail products may be identified through labels required by IMG College Licensing.
IMG College Licensing (IMGCL) and Boston University are each committed to conducting their business affairs in a socially responsible and ethical manner consistent with their respective educational, research, and/or service missions, and to protecting and preserving the global environment. While IMGCL and Boston University believe that Licensees share this commitment, we have adopted the following Labor Code Standards (the Code) which requires that all Licensees, at a minimum, adhere to the principles set forth in the Code. The purpose of IMGCL’s Special Agreement Regarding Labor Codes of Conduct (hereafter “Code Agreement”) is to promote consistent and uniform labor code standards by providing a framework for bundling together the labor code requirements of various institutions represented by IMGCL. The labor code standards establish reasonable hours, working conditions, and pay for workers in factories manufacturing products bearing the marks of collegiate institutions. By signing the Code Agreement, the licensee agrees to adhere to any and all labor code standards set forth by the licensing institution.
Boston University is committed to conducting its business affairs in an ethical and socially responsible manner. As part of that commitment, Boston University is an active member of the Worker Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor Association.
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting workers’ rights and improving working conditions worldwide. Formally established in 1999, the FLA evolved from the Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP), a task force created in response to a call by President Bill Clinton for industry, labor unions, consumers groups, and human rights organizations to establish standards for humane working conditions in apparel and footwear production, and to communicate to consumers about the implementation of those standards. Since its founding, FLA has widened its scope to include active participation by colleges and universities and to cover a wide variety of products made for colleges and universities. Today, the FLA is a collaborative effort of colleges and universities, companies (including collegiate licensees), and civil society organizations (CSOs).
The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent labor rights monitoring organization created by colleges and universities, students, and labor rights experts to aid in the effective enforcement of university codes of conduct and ensure that workers’ rights are respected in the factories that produce clothing and other goods bearing university names and logos. The WRC conducts independent, in-depth investigations; issues public reports on factories producing for major brands; and aids workers at these factories in their efforts to end labor abuses and defend their workplace rights. The WRC is proud to have the support of over 180 college and university affiliates and the organization’s primary focus is the labor practices of factories that make university-related apparel.
Boston University Auxiliary Services
1 Silber Way, 9th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02215
IMG College Licensing
1075 Peachtree Street, Suite 3300
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
This policy is effective 8/02/2012; last modified 5/15/2018.