Licensing & Trademarks




What is a trademark? What is a logo?

A trademark is a state or federally registered name or symbol, or a combination of the two, which identifies the source of a product or service. A “trademark” is used to indicate any or all of the following: trademark, trade name, service mark, logo, insignia, indicia, emblem, symbol, identifying mark, mark, and name. A logo is a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, etc., often uniquely designed for ready recognition.

When should I register a trademark?

If you answer yes to the following questions, you should consider registering a trademark:

What is trademark infringement?

Unauthorized use or similar use of a trademark so as to cause the likelihood of confusion in the minds of the consumer as to the source.

May public or private schools use the University's name, marks, or mascots on uniforms, buildings, stadiums, or for booster club fundraisers?

We are always gratified when a school wishes to use one of our marks as their mascot, however the University is required by law to control and enforce the use of its marks. Please contact the Office of Licensing and Trademarks regarding your request.

How long does it take to register a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office?

Registering a trademark with the USPTO takes approximately 18-24 months. If you only intend to use a mark for a few months, registration is not in your best interest. You would not reap the benefit of registration until after you have stopped using the mark.

What is the difference between a trademark, copyright, and patent?

A trademark is any name symbol, figure, letter, word, or mark adopted and used by a manufacturer or merchant in order to designate his or her goods and to distinguish them from those manufactured or sold by others. A trademark is a proprietary term that is usually registered with the Patent and Trademark Office to assure is exclusive use by its owner. Trademark registration affords the owner ten years of protection.

A copyright provides the creator of an original work of authorship exclusive rights to control its distribution for a period of 50-100 years after the author's death. Contact University Counsel with copyright questions.

A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state or country to an inventor for a fixed period of time in exchange for disclosure of an invention or discovery. The term of a patent is in effect for 20 years from the date of the application. Contact IURTC with patent questions.

Do I have to register a trademark?

You do not have to register a trademark. If you are the first person or company to use a mark you have limited rights to the mark. However, if you wish to legally prevent others from using a mark you should register it.

Who should I call if I suspect someone is infringing on a University trademark?

Call the Office of Licensing and Trademarks at 812-855-8830 right away. We will investigate the matter and take the appropriate action.