RUL 01.25.01 – Trademark Licensing Rules

Authority: Issued by Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and vice Chancellor for Advancement. Changes or exceptions may only be made by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and/or the Vice Chancellor for Advancement.

History: First Issued: February 1, 2003. Last Revised: December 13, 2023.

Related Policies: 
NCSU REG01.25.06 – Use of the University’s Names, Marks, Symbols, Images, and Copyrights

Additional References: 
Athletic Department 
Office of Research Commercialization
Office of Strategic Brand Management
Trademark Use Request Form 

Contact Info: Assistant Vice Chancellor for Strategic Brand Management,


North Carolina State University (NC State) owns and controls its name(s) and other marks, logos, insignias, seal, designs and symbols that have become associated with the university (collectively “marks”). NC State’s Board of Trustees has established the licensing program to protect the university’s marks, control the quality of products with the marks, and to prohibit the unauthorized use of university marks on commercial products and non-commercial products. Net revenues from trademark licensing royalties are used to fund scholarship and student support activities.


2.1  NC State is required to monitor and control all uses of its marks to ensure compliance and protection under federal, state and international trademark laws.  The unauthorized use of NC State’s marks is subject to civil and criminal penalties. The university reserves the right to take appropriate action when confronted with unauthorized use of its marks. Such actions may include confiscation of goods, financial penalties and legal action.

2.2  NC State charges a royalty fee for the use of its marks except for those items for internal consumption, and limited other exceptions considered on a case-by-case basis. An internal consumption item is an item that happens to bear a NC State mark but that is otherwise a work-place necessity that is used by an employee or organizational unit of the university in the ordinary course of business.  Examples include publications and documents, stationary, advertising for department services, equipment and supplies, and uniforms required to be worn by employees.


3.1 All products and services bearing registered trademarks or other marks or insignia that specifically identify the university are covered by the licensing program. Items bearing the name “State,” “North Carolina State,” “Pack” or other names that may refer to the university are covered by the licensing program if it can be determined the primary reason or effect of the use of the name is to cause purchasers to associate the product or service with NC State.

3.2  Photographs and artworks bearing the university’s marks, or other reference to the university are covered by the licensing program. This includes reproductions and mass-produced artworks with reference to the university. (Example: note cards with campus sketch on front with reference to NC State.)  Photographs and artworks of university landmarks, buildings, etc., that do not bear the university’s name or any reference to the university or its marks are not covered by the licensing program.

3.3  Products and goods that bear the university’s marks and contain works subject to NC State’s copyright policy, REG 01.25.03, are covered by the trademark licensing program.  The Office of Strategic Brand Management shall determine what royalties, if any, may be distributed to copyright owners.

3.4 All products bearing the university’s marks must be produced from companies licensed by the university through the university’s trademark licensing agency (for more information visit  Exceptions to this requirement must be requested in writing to Trademark Licensing Director.

3.5 NC State’s marks may not be used in conjunction with the name or trademark(s) of any other entity or individual without the prior written permission of that entity and the Office of Strategic Brand Management.  Approval of any such dual use of the university’s marks will be limited to instances of compelling institutional interest for allowing such a use. Similarly, NC State’s marks may not be used in any manner that suggests or implies the university’s endorsement of other organizations, companies, products, services, political parties or views, or religious organizations and beliefs without prior written permission.

3.6 NC State’s marks may not be used in any way that discriminates or implies discrimination against any persons or groups based on age, ancestry, belief, color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status, or in any other way that would be a violation of NC State’s anti-discrimination policies or practices.

3.7 No one other than the NC State may claim copyright or trademark rights or seek to register any design that incorporates the university’s marks.

3.8 All uses of NC State marks on products should incorporate the appropriate trademark designation symbols (i.e., ® or ™).   No changes, deletions, or alterations to the marks are allowed.

3.9  The university will not approve the use of NC State’s marks in connection with products or designs that present an unacceptable risk of liability or could be harmful to the mission or image of the institution. A list of examples can be found at the Trademark Licensing website,


4.1 Commercial use of the university’s name or marks requires either a formal contract with the university or a license through the university’s trademark licensing agency. Once approved, the business or person requesting permission becomes a “Licensee” and the individual products (or services) become “Licensed Products” (or “Licensed Services”).

4.2 Where the proposed use would identify, promote, or advertise goods or services, the request should be made in writing via e-mail at

4.3 The NC State Athletics Department may designate an outside party as an official or exclusive provider to Wolfpack Athletics; however, any such designation must be limited to referencing the Athletic Department or Athletics program and may not extend to the university.


5.1 NC State departments and units are permitted to use the university’s marks for official university business purposes on internal consumption items, as defined in section 2.2 above, without prior approval. All such uses must be in accordance with any other applicable university policy or guidelines, including but not limited to those regarding brand identity (See

5.2 All items sold through NC State departments bearing university logos must be purchased from licensed manufacturers and require royalties to be paid by the licensee.

5.3  Promotional items that bear the university’s name or marks that are given away or included as a premium require them to be purchased from licensed vendor and requires royalties to be paid by the manufacturers.

5.4  As the Chancellor’s Seal (also known as the Official Seal) symbolizes NC State at the highest level, the use of the Seal is restricted to official university business items, publications and documents  that are university-wide in scope and that require approval by the Chancellor or the Board of Trustees before being issued  Use of the Seal for retail items is restricted to graduation related items, and for limited, upscale gift-type products or university-level awards that require the Chancellor’s or Board of Trustee’s approval. The trademark licensing office will review the use of the Seal for graduation announcements and diploma frames.


No organization associated with the university is exempt from the Trademark Licensing Rules and Regulations. All items sold through affiliated organizations bearing NC State’s marks must be purchased from licensed manufacturers and such items are not exempt from royalties.


7.1 Permitted Organizations

Use of NC State’s name or trademarks with an organization name implies association with the university. Therefore, only those student organizations that are officially registered with Student Leadership are allowed to use the university’s marks.

7.2 Organizations’ Use of the Marks

7.2.1  Student organizations may not use the university’s marks in the domain name of any non-university hosted website or web page, other to identify that the organization is located at NC State (for example:  www.chessclubatncsu), without obtaining the written permission from the Office of Strategic Brand Management.

7.2.2  Officially registered student organizations may order merchandise displaying both the student organization’s name/logo and university marks for the organization’s use, promotion, or fundraising activities under the following guidelines: All merchandise purchased by student organizations bearing NC State’s marks must be purchased from licensed vendors.  Prior to placing an order, a Trademark Use Request form must be filled out by an organization and approved by the trademark licensing office.  A list of licensed printers that have expressed a willingness to produce special order merchandise for campus organizations can be found at:

7.3 Club Sports

7.3.1  Club Sports teams that do not compete in NCAA recognized sports are permitted to use the university name or marks on their competition uniforms without use of the club’s name only with the advance approval of the Assistant Director of Club Sports and the Office of Strategic Brand Management. (Examples:  Bass Fishing, Sailing).

7.3.2  Club Sports teams that compete in sports recognized by NCAA,  even in those sports where the university does not field a team,  are required to include the Club name on the uniforms,  equipment,  and any related apparel or product.  (Examples:  Fencing Club, Club Lacrosse).

7.4 Sponsorship

Registered student organizations may include a sponsor name/logo in addition to university trademarks on products that are directly utilized in club activities under the following guidelines:

7.4.1 The student organization’s name/logo must be the primary logo and displayed in a manner that will communicate that the relationship exists between the organization and the sponsor and not with the University.

7.4.2 The student organization may not use the trademarks in a manner that in any way would constitute an endorsement or approval of the sponsor or its products, activities, or services by the university.

7.4.3   The sponsor’s product or service does not conflict with any provisions in sections 3.6 and 3.9 above.

7.5 Sales on Campus

Sales of goods or products bearing the university’s marks on campus must also comply with the university’s regulation on Use of University Space, REG 11.55.02.


All requests for exemptions from the licensing program are handled by written request to the Office of Strategic Brand Management.