Trademarks and Licensing

The University of Tennessee is known and recognized throughout the world, thanks in part to trademarks.  

What is a Trademark?  

As defined by the U.S. Patents & Trademarks Office, “a trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” 

How are Trademarks Registered?  

There are two types of trademark notices – ® for federally registered trademarks, and ™ for situations where UT has trademark rights but no federal registration. 

State Registration ™ 

State registration creates a record of the date that the University began using a word/phrase/symbol/design, and that record can be important if UT is accused of trademark infringement or if the University wants to stop someone from using a similar mark. However, state registration only protects the trademark in the state where it’s registered. 

Federal Registration ® 

Federally registering a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants the University exclusive right to use nationwide and creates a legal presumption that it is the owner of the mark.  

The UT System Office of Trademark Licensing handles all registrations on behalf of the statewide UT System.  

Quick Reference

Quick Reference 

UT has dozens of registered (state ™ and federal ® ) trademarks. For quick reference: 

UT Icon Federal ® These elements—and all logos incorporating one or more of these elements—use the ® 
Power T Federal ® 
Power C Federal ® 
Wordmark (The University of Tennessee) Federal ® 
When to Use Registration Symbols 

All merchandise should include a registration symbol—unless there’s a good reason not to. But know that not including a registration mark on merchandise is a missed opportunity to strengthen and protect the UT brand. 

Merchandise is defined as all promotional items (giveaways) distributed to external audiences or items intended for resale (retail).  

Examples of merchandise that would not include a registration symbol include:  

  • small items with limited space, such as jewelry 
  • high-end items where including the registration mark would take away from the aesthetic 

Indicia Statement 

The below statement should be included on the packaging (as needed) in lieu of using a registration symbol. The statement also should be included on print communications from the University, as space allows. 

  • “The University name and its indicia within are trademarks of the University of Tennessee.” 

Placement of Registration Symbols 

Symbols should be placed in the bottom right corner of logos. Standardized placement is included within the UT System brand guidelines and primary logo suites. 

Licensed Vendors 

University fiscal policy requires that a licensed vendor be used to produce any merchandise that bears a University trademark. 

The UT System Office of Trademark Licensing partners with with the Collegiate Licensing Company to administer the university’s licensing program. Vendors are licensed by CLC, which ensures licensees meet a variety of product-quality and fair-labor standards. 

 Offices and departments ordering merchandise must select a vendor from one of the following lists, which are maintained by the UT System Office of Trademark Licensing: