View Full Version : Legally Using Logos

James & Zelma Litzmann
07-12-2006, 5:31 PM
Does anyone know the legality of using college or high school logos?

Barbara Buhse
07-12-2006, 6:15 PM
I managed a college bookstore for ten years. I can tell you that most well known colleges have licensed their logos, and you'd have to have permission to reproduce them for resellable items. As to how you'd find out, call the public information office or sometimes the bookstore holds the license if the store is not leased. If you have an order from a college and they give you the logo to use, then you're ok, since that is done by permission and they'd be reselling the item.

For more information on the subject, try www.nasc.org (http://www.nasc.org)
this is a trade association that may be able to help you with your questions.


Joe Pelonio
07-12-2006, 6:47 PM
The law forbids use of logos for financial gain without written permission.
I could make a lot of logos and place them on my wall as samples or on my truck, but I cannot sell them.

I use corporate logos on signs all the time, but only if my customer is a representative of that company. The only exception is if my customer is a parking garage management business ordering reserved signs for that company, by their request, or a non-profit orders a sponsorship banner
and wants the donating company's logo on it. In those cases permission is
assumed, but even that is a little shaky. The law is enforced by the courts, so the company owning the copyright/trademark is required to sue to stop illegal use or recover financial damages. If someone asks for a Coca Cola logo engraved on a mirror for their pool room, there is little chance that it would ever be discovered by Cocal Cola and traced back to you, but I still won't do it. I tell the customer that they must provide me written permission from the company or cannot do it. I further explain that most of these companies sell such promotional items and that they would probably not grant permission without a huge licensing fee. I get kids wanting things for their cars all the time. Often I'll tell them to try the website or a dealer that sells that product and they'll buy it and return to pay me to install it.

Colleges are quick to sue, Texas A & M recently sued the Seattle Seahawks over a trademark issue. High schools are not as likely to but then it depends on how it's used. They would react with all of their legal power if they found a logo in an inappropriate place, like an internet porn site, and you may not know what your customer is going to do with it.

David Sabot
07-12-2006, 11:40 PM
In my former life I worked for a now defunct video game company (Acclaim Entertainment). We worked on a college basketball video game called College Jam. I did all the licensing and marketing for the game. Let me tell you, there were about 30+ college teams in the game. We had to get permission from the Collegiate Licensing Company to use the logos. Then we had to get approval from each school in regards to how those logos were used. In some cases it went down to the decision of a head coach or two. So basically as far as I can tell you, licensing is a very hard avenue to cross. You need money and know-how.

John Poole
07-14-2006, 7:42 AM
Does anyone know the legality of using college or high school logos?

Logos are trademarks, and as such, property. The minute you want to use someone else's property, you pretty much have the answer to your question: you need their permission.

And the practice of Trademark Law can very lucrative as companies/organizations will not hesitate to spend money to protect their property lest they be deemed to have abandoned it.