Learning the Law of the Bear Paw

Just Like Coke and Kleenex, Care Should Be
Taken in Using University Symbols

by Fernando Quintero

The mission of the Office of Marketing and Management of Trademarks is to promote and protect the public image of the campus by managing the use of the Berkeley's name, logos and distinctive visual images.

Easier said than done.

With a staff that one can tally on one hand, the Office of Marketing and Management is doing its best to get the word out that the "C," the Cal logo, bear paw print, university seal and other images affiliated with the university are not up for grabs.

"There's a big misconception out there that the these images are public domain," said Maria Rubinshteyn, trademarks office manager.

These images are not only protected by trademark law, but also by the state Education Code. It's a misdemeanor offense to use the university name or images in an unauthorized fashion."

In addition to monitoring the use of Berkeley trademarks, the office also provides pre-production approval of licensing agreements and generates revenue for the campus through appropriate and active marketing of trademarks.

Rubinshteyn's office recently held a workshop on campus to help disseminate information about the proper uses of Cal's trademarks.

"The number one question that comes up among staff, faculty, students and alumni is what are they supposed to do when they want T-shirts, sweatshirts or mugs to commemorate some special event," said Rubinshteyn.

All graphics bearing the University of California, Berkeley trademarks should be submitted to the Office of Marketing and Management of Trademarks for approval prior to production. The office keeps a list of licensed manufacturers and product vendors to ensure quality control. It also keeps a list of local screen printers and embroiderers that have the office's seal of approval.

As one can imagine, the trademarks office sees its share of unsuitable designs.

"We will not license a product with a Berkeley trademark that promotes alcohol or tobacco use," said Rubinshteyn.

In addition to requests for products, Rubinshteyn said her office has received a number of inquiries regarding the proper use of Berkeley trademarks on the web.

"It's a big issue not just on our campus, but across the country," Rubinshteyn said.

Put simply: Trademarks are to be used for official university business. Organizations or groups not endorsed by the campus should not be using university trademarks.

Rubinshteyn advises extra caution when using the university's corporate seal. The seal was designed in 1884 by order of the Board of Regents to be "the size of a Mexican dollar, and the legend around the rim shall be: 'University of California-Organized 1868.' And the motto shall be: 'Let there be light.'"

The present official corporate seal, which has the words, "The Seal of the University of California, 1868," was designed in 1910 by Tiffany and Co.

This seal is to be used only in connection with the transaction of regental or university business. The "unofficial" seal, with the deletion of the words "The Seal of," may be used as a symbol of the university for any official purpose, or in connection with alumni, student or public projects.

For questions regarding the use of the University of California, Berkeley trademarks, name and logos, contact the Office of Marketing and Management of Trademarks at 642-6344 or fax: 642-2149.



Copyright 1997, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail berkeleyan@pa.urel.berkeley.edu.