What is a trademark or service mark?
A trademark or service mark is a name, design, seal, insignia, or other symbol that an entity uses to identify and distinguish itself and its goods and services from those of another entity, or to indicate to the public its authorization, sponsorship, or affiliation with the provider of goods or services.
What trademarks does the University of Alabama own?
A complete list of the University of Alabama's trademarks can be viewed here. The University may also have rights in non-registered word marks and designs that relate to The University.
The University is entitled to claim trademark rights in University Marks based on its continuous use of the marks. The University holds federal registration in the Institutional and selected Athletic Marks, and is pending for some additional Athletic Marks. University Marks also are registered with the State. Registration at the federal and/or State level is not required in order for the University to claim rights in its trademarks; however, registration notifies the public of the University's ownership and, in the case of federal registration, provides benefits that are otherwise not available.
Why does the University care who uses its Marks or how?
The University must control and monitor the use of its Marks or risk losing its right to use them as unique University identifiers. The University has a strong interest in controlling use of its Marks for other reasons: ensuring that any products or services that bear University Marks are of high quality and are used only in connection with products and services with which the University has chosen to be identified and which, as a result, it has assumed some level of responsibility; preventing misleading or inaccurate portrayals of the University's relationship to others or to activities and preventing others from taking advantage of the good will the University has developed and which is symbolized by its Marks; and ensuring that products and services bearing University Marks protect the integrity and reputation of the University, maintain and build upon the good will of the University, and promote support and increase awareness of the University.
Why is it important to purchase licensed merchandise?
The licensing fees that come from your purchase of licensed products help fund academic scholarships and UA's athletic program. UA further feels a strong responsibility to support our students, fans, alumni and supporters who believe they are buying officially licensed products that benefit the University they love rather than an unlicensed competitor, and to making sure we appropriately protect the value and integrity of our trademarks, indicia, images and reputation and UA's loyalty to its licensees.
How do I apply for a license?
Please click on the Prospective Licensees tab to learn more about the application process.
How does the Licensing and Approval Processes Work?
Commercial Uses: Any non-University persons or entities or University departments, students, employees or registered student organizations that want to use University Marks in connection with the commercial sale or resale of goods or services must obtain products from a University-licensed vendor or themselves be licensed before offering products for sale. Advance approval from the University is required whether the commercial use will be ongoing or associated with a one-time event, such as using a Mark on a poster announcing an event or on an item to be sold as a fundraiser.
Noncommercial Uses That Require University Approval: All requests to use University Marks require prior University approval. All uses of University Marks by non-University commercial entities require prior approval from the University Director of Licensing, even if the proposed uses do not involve the sale of a product; e.g., exhortatory announcements in newspapers or athletic programs.
Student Athletes: Any and all uses of the name and/or images of University student athletes must comply with NCAA rules. Questions should be directed to the Compliance Office in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Trademark Use Standards
All authorized uses of University Marks must meet the following standards.
- All uses of University Marks must comply with University Design Standards.
- University Marks may not be modified in any way without prior University approval.
- University Marks may not be used in conjunction with the name or mark(s) of any other entity without the prior written permission of the University and that entity. If permission is granted to use both the University Mark and another party's mark, the marks must be distinct and separate from one another and neither mark may dominate the other in order to protect the integrity of both marks.
- No University Mark may be used in any manner that suggests or implies University endorsement of products, services, political parties or views, or religious organizations or beliefs.
- No one other than the University may claim copyright or trademark rights in or seek to register any design that uses University Marks.
- All uses of University Marks will incorporate the appropriate trademark symbol, when practicable. Designs using Institutional Marks, "Alabama”, "Bama", "University of Alabama", "Crimson Tide", "Roll Tide", and the Primary Athletic Marks, will include ®. All other Marks and slogans will use ™.
- The University will not approve the use of University Marks in connection with products or services that the University determines taint or undermine its good will.
- The University will not approve the use of University Marks in connection with alcoholic beverages, inherently dangerous products (firearms, explosives), illegal drugs, tobacco, gambling, sexually suggestive products or language, or any health related product.
I own a business and would like to advertise using the UA's marks with my company's marks. Do I need a license?
Please call Crimson Tide Sports Marketing at (205) 348-9614 to learn more about this advertising or marketing opportunity. A license also may be required.
Unauthorized use of University Marks
Any use of University Marks that does not comply with the University's licensing and approval requirements and Trademark Use Standards will be considered unauthorized and may violate Federal and/or state laws. The University reserves the right to take appropriate action when confronted with unauthorized uses of its Marks. Depending on the facts, such action may include confiscation of goods and issuance of a cease and desist letter.
How do I tell if merchandise is officially licensed by the University of Alabama?
To ensure that a product is licensed, look for the “Officially Licensed Collegiate Products” label and/or hologram sticker.
What should I do if I find unlicensed merchandise?
Please visit the Enforcement tab to learn more about reporting unlicensed merchandise.