University Licensing and Trademark

Policy Summary

Any individual or organization from the university community interested in using the George Washington University name, wordmarks or logos on merchandise must obtain pre-approval from the Licensing and Trademarks Program, use a licensed vendor, and comply with the requirements and guidelines set forth in this policy and in the George Washington University Name, Wordmark, Seal and Color Usage Policy.    

The purpose of this policy is to promote, regulate and protect the use of the university's trademarked names and identifying marks, and to protect the integrity of the university’s identity.  

Who is Governed by this Policy 

  • Students
  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • Licensees
  • Alumni organizations
  • Student organizations  


Prior Approval Process  

Prior to ordering any manufactured products bearing GW's marks, all artwork and designs must be approved by the Licensing and Trademarks Program. This includes new designs as well as reorders containing previously approved designs.    

An artwork approval form is available on the Licensing website. Artwork approval forms should be submitted with ample time for resubmission of artwork as revisions may be required. Authorization is given generally within 48 hours from time of submission.  

Only vendors who have been licensed to work with GW through Exemplar Associates have approval to manufacture or sell merchandise bearing GW marks. GW requires that a licensed vendor be used to maintain product quality and compliance with labor codes.  

Rules Regarding Use of GW Marks  

  1. Compliance with Name, Wordmark, Seal and Color Usage Policy  

Use of the university’s name, trademarks, wordmarks, logos, colors and seal must be in accordance with The George Washington University Name, Wordmark, Seal and Color Usage Policy.  When using university trademarks and logos such as the Colonials logo, the entire logo, as indicated on the approved logo page, found on the Marketing and Creative Services website, must be used in design(s). All merchandise must have the university's approved name, logo, trademark or word-mark imprinted in at least one prominent location (i.e., back, front, pocket, sleeve), with appropriate registration or trademark symbol beside it.   

  1. Positive Portrayal of University Image   

The university’s trademarks are intended to present a positive image of the George Washington University, and may not be altered in any way. The university’s trademarks are not to 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, sexual orientation, veteran status or other illegal basis, or in any other way that would be a violation of university anti-discrimination policies.  Slang words or phrases must not be used in any design or merchandise depicting the George Washington University name.    

The university’s trademarks with the following types of products normally will not be approved:  Products that could be used to injure or kill, alcohol-related products, tobacco-related products, sexually suggestive products, and products that are inimical to the mission or image of the university.  

The final determination as to whether the intended use of the university’s trademarks presents a positive image of the university will be in the discretion of the Licensing and Trademarks Program.


Royalty payments must be paid by the product manufacturer on any orders placed on products bearing GW's marks if the product is for resale. This includes t-shirts, banners, pens, mugs, key chains, etc. The royalty charge is paid by the licensed manufacturer, which is a different license than for vendors producing items not intended for resale.   


Persons or entities that use the university’s trademarks without permission are subject to civil and criminal penalties pursuant to trademark law. The university intends to protect its trademarks and associated goodwill to the full extent of the law.   

Related Information


Contact Phone Number Email Address
Licensing and Trademark Coordinator 202-994-9718  [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Associate Vice President, Real Estate
Responsible Office: Business Services

Noncompliance with this policy can be reported through this website.