Trademarks are indicators of unique source. They contribute to the University’s mission in multiple ways, both through their primary function and by generating revenues through licensing. Key University trademarks such as the Wordmark, Block M, and the official Goldy mascot marks help maintain the University’s consistent brand identity; these marks are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Trademarks can be used in some circumstances to maintain the integrity of academic work product by distinguishing products and services (for example, SweeTango® apples). Sometimes trademark law can be used to address the unauthorized use of academic work product when copyright law might not be applicable or effective; prior registration is not always required.
Protecting trademarks is one key element of maintaining trademark rights. The University’s marks are protected through a wide variety of means, but University faculty, students, staff, alumni, and friends are an excellent network to identify unauthorized use. To report the suspected unauthorized use of a University trademark, please contact Rosalie O’Brien. You may also contact Rosalie to obtain legal advice about using trademark law to distinguish a University product or service or if you or your unit are accused of infringement of marks belonging to others.
Consistent use is also important. All University units are required to use the Wordmark on official communications and the official Web template header and footer on umn.edu. For further information about use of University trademarks, see the University’s brand policy and graphic standards or contact University Relations. Licensing of key University trademarks on merchandise is overseen by Dave Lindquist, the University’s Director of Licensing; the University’s exclusive trademark licensing agent is Collegiate Licensing Company.