FAQ

FAQs

How do I obtain a product with the Cal Poly logo on it for my organization to distribute or sell?

You may purchase products with the Cal Poly logo as long as the manufacturer of those products is a licensee of the University. Be sure to ask the seller of the product, or view our list of product sellers who have a license with the University.

Do I or does my organization need to be licensed?

No. The manufacturer that makes the product for you must be licensed, not the support group.

What is a licensee?

A licensee is a person or organization who has been granted the right, under certain conditions, to use the trademarks and service marks of California Polytechnic State University.

Why must I use a manufacturer that is licensed by Cal Poly for my Cal Poly products?

Using a licensed manufacturer ensures quality, consistency and appropriateness of design on the goods.

What are Copyrights, Trademarks, and Service Marks?

Copyrights, service marks, and trademarks are among Cal Poly’s foremost assets and must be treated with care to remain viable.

  1. Copyrights identify original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression such as books, motion pictures, photography, and musical compositions.
  2. Service marks are distinctive signs used by an individual or business to identify a service and distinguish it from those of its competitors. Some services that may use marks are educational, entertainment and financial services.
  3. Trademarks are distinctive signs used by an individual or business to identify a product and distinguish it from those of its competitors. Examples of products include software, clothing, and gift items. Trademarks can be placed on product labels, tags, containers, packaging, or on the product itself.

If the product I want to purchase has no reference whatsoever to the University (e.g. no colors, building images, names or trademarks), do I still need to have a licensed vendor produce my product?

No.

If my product is not going to be resold, do I still have to select a licensed vendor?

Yes. Whether or not a product is going to be resold has no bearing on the need for the University to have licenses in place with all third parties who are reproducing the Cal Poly name or marks.

What is a license agreement?

A license agreement is the legal contract that governs the relationship between the manufacturer of products bearing Cal Poly marks (“licensee”) and the Cal Poly Corporation (“licensor”). The license must be in place prior to any sales and marketing efforts the vendor may initiate.

How does a manufacturer obtain a license?

A manufacturer downloads a form from IMG College and submits a completed application to IMG with representative (non-Cal Poly) product samples, price lists, and any other relevant information.

How long does the licensing process take for a new vendor?

Depending upon the speed at which the vendor sends back the materials required for licensing, the process may take as little as three weeks or so and as much as several months.

Are there any types of products that Cal Poly will not license?

Most products will be considered for licensing; however, the University reserves the right to decline to license any item. For example, tobacco products and firearms are not appropriate for licensing and will not be considered.

Are any sales exempt from royalties?

Yes. Generally an exemption may be granted for a (1) product purchased by the University or a University recognized student club or organization for internal consumption or for sale at cost to their members, and (2) for advertising rights to use the marks as granted in corporate sponsor agreements.  Note that promotional products given away are considered product for internal consumption unless given in exchange for a donation.

Do I need to get product designs pre-approved before going to a licensed vendor?

Yes. In order to streamline the process, the form entitled Student and Internal Request to Use the Cal Poly Name should be completed and submitted along with the proposed artwork to the Office of Trademark Licensing, Attn: Sasha Palazzo.  This allows Cal Poly to pre-approve the artwork prior to it being submitted to the licensed manufacturer.  Once the manufacturer receives the order along with a copy of the approved form and artwork, the final approval process can be expedited.

What does Cal Poly do if unlicensed merchandise is discovered in the marketplace?

The University is committed to protecting and preserving its trademark rights, as failure to do so could result in the loss of those rights. Any commercial use of University marks without a trademark license is addressed promptly and can result in merchandise confiscation and or by legal action if necessary. Please advise the Trademark Licensing Coordinator of potential unlicensed product sales.

What rules apply to media or informational use of trademarks?

References to the University name or Marks by news media for informational purposes to indentify the University are not subject to the licensing program. A reference to University name or Marks in advertising by retailers or manufacturers requires the University’s approval.

Are there restrictions on the use of campus photographs or monuments?

Photographs of campus scenes or monuments are considered for informational use and are not subject to the licensing program unless they feature the University name or Marks and exploited commercially.  The use of such photographs on commercial products requires approval by the Licensing Coordinator and may require licensure.

What are the royalty proceeds used for?

The royalty proceeds are used in furtherance of the licensing program, e.g. costs associated with registering and maintaining the marks. A portion of the royalty proceeds also are dedicated to supporting student scholarships.