University Sponsorship Policy

Listed below are key takeaways from the University's Sponsorship Policy. If you would like to download the policy, click the link below.

Background

The University of Cincinnati (“UC” or “university”) owns and controls its name(s), brand, and other associated marks, logos, insignias, seal, designs, and symbols (“trademarks”). UC’s Board of Trustees has established a licensing program to protect the name, brand, and identifying trademarks of the university, and to prohibit the unauthorized use of university trademarks on commercial or other products. In accordance with Board Rule 10-01-06, the Director of Trademarks & Licensing is authorized to sign contracts relating to the licensing, sale, assignment, transfer or other disposition of the university’s trademarks.

Outside entities are often interested in being affiliated with the university because of the value and goodwill that exist in the university’s brand. The university must protect the integrity of its brand by monitoring and controlling any activity associating an outside entity with the university, and must ensure the university receives appropriate consideration for the use of its name, brand, and/or trademarks.

Definitions

  • Sponsorship – An agreement between the university and an entity (a person or organization) in which the entity pays to receive benefits or deliverables that evidence an association with the university through the use of the university’s name, brand, and/or trademarks. Benefits or deliverables may include, but are not limited to, print communications, electronic communications, and premium promotional items (e.g., sponsorship of university-sanctioned events like Welcome Week, conferences, meetings, or student groups officially recognized through Student Affairs & Leadership Development).

  • Premium Promotional Item − A product produced for distribution that connects an entity (a person or an organization) with the university either by reference or through use of one of the university’s trademarks. Premium Promotional Items carry an elevated royalty rate currently set at 20% of the cost of the item bearing the university’s trademark.
  • Gift/Donation – See Restricted Gift and Expendable Endowment Spending Compliance Requirements Policy, 2.1.35 and Gifts-in-Kind to the University Policy, 2.1.10.

Policy

Sponsorship Approval

All sponsorships require prior written approval from the Office of Trademarks & Licensing, even if the sponsorship does not involve the sale of a product (e.g., premium promotional items, items for fundraisers, or giveaways, gifts, endorsements, etc.). Sponsorships that imply the university’s support of any political party or view, or religious organization or belief will not be approved. Sponsorships that present an unacceptable risk of liability or could be harmful to the mission or image of the university will not be approved. A list of examples can be found at the Office of Trademarks & Licensing website.

It is the general policy of the university to refrain from endorsing any particular entity, product, or service. Accordingly, sponsorships should recognize the entity, product, or service’s support of the university rather the university’s support of the entity, product, or service. In limited circumstances, when a compelling institutional reason exists, as determined by a committee chaired by the Director of Trademarks & Licensing with the following members Sr. VP for Administration & Finance, Executive VP President’s Office, VP of Finance, VP of Student Affairs, VP of Legal Affairs & General Counsel, Director of Athletics, VP for Advancement, and Chief Innovation Officer, a sponsorship may be approved that evidences the university’s support of the entity, product, or service.

University Trademark Usage in Sponsorships

A sponsorship will often include the use of a university trademark. The following rules apply to the use of university trademarks in sponsorships:

  • The C-Paw and other athletic trademarks may only be used in connection with sponsorships related to UC Athletics through the university’s media rights partner, currently Learfield - IMG College.

  • All products bearing UC’s trademarks may only be produced by entities licensed by the university through its agent, currently the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). A complete list is available at the Office of Trademarks & Licensing web site. All products bearing UC’s trademarks are subject to royalties. All uses of UC’s trademarks on products must incorporate the appropriate trademark designation symbols (i.e. ® or TM).

  • UC’s trademarks may not be used in any way that discriminates or implies discrimination against any persons or groups based on age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, military status (including veteran status), national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, parental status (including status as a foster parent), pregnancy, or any other status protected by law, or in any other way that would be a violation of UC’s anti-discrimination rules or policies.

Procedure

  1. Complete the UC Licensing Sponsorship Request Form available on the Office of Trademarks & Licensing website.

  2. Submit completed form along with any related artwork to the Director of Trademarks & Licensing.

  3. Director of Trademarks & Licensing reviews request and returns a signed copy of the request form indicating: (a) request is approved, (b) request is approved with changes along with a description of required changes, or (c) request is denied along with the reason for denial.

  4. All approved requests must be executed through the Office of Trademarks & Licensing.