Officially Recognized Student or Campus Organizations

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Internal Trademark Use Form
Searchable database of all licensees

Art for items ordered by student organizations should:

  • include your group name as registered with the student activities center along with language to indicate if the group is a club, student chapter, or student organization, if not evident from the name
  • be produced by a licensed vendor
  • be submitted to the trademark office for approval prior to production
  • represent the university in a positive manner
  • not include trademarks or copyright protected material from other entities
  • not include altered university logos (except vintage Cy and the current athletics Cy, which may be tastefully modified by Sponsored and Affiliated groups to reflect your group’s activities).

Complete guidelines can be found in the guidelines for student use (


Frequently Asked Questions:

Internal use of the marks is divided into two sections, the use by internal units and the use by organizations. An internal unit is described as the "university proper" such as a college, department, program, affiliate, or center. An organization is described as an officially recognized student or campus organization. The university has specifically created trademark guidelines for units and organizations to follow. Below is a listing of commonly asked questions and answers from student organizations.

Officially Recognized Student or Campus Organizations must follow the Student Organization Resource Policy (SORP), Student Code of Conduct and the Student Use Guidelines when using the marks. The university grants organizations the right to use the university's trademarks in custom designs consistent with their recognized status. The Trademark Licensing Office manages the Student Use Guidelines and requires that all organizations using the mark be granted a "final approval" prior to use. Common questions asked by student organizations are listed below.

Do I need to get permission to use the marks even for use by our organization members? Yes. All organizations must fill out a Trademark Internal Use form to request use of the marks and have the use approved by Trademark Licensing. Trademark Licensing's approval process is to ensure a licensed vendor is being used as well as reviewing the design to ensure student use design standards are followed. Included on the form is a section to request a royalty exemption. Exemptions from paying royalties are granted only by Trademark Licensing and based on the use of the marks. It is the responsibility of the organization to complete the Trademark Internal Use form and it is best to take the form directly to the licensed vendor at the time an order is placed. However, Trademark Licensing will review the form and design for a preliminary assessment upon request. If the Trademark Licensing Office grants an exemption, the licensee is required to keep the form on file for auditing purposes.

What is the purpose of the "®" and "™" and are organizations required to use them? To show that an entity claims the right to a mark, a notice is used such as the "™" or "®." The "™" symbol is used to claim common law trademark rights on a mark that is not federally registered in a specific class of goods on which the mark is placed. The "®" notice is used to show the mark is owned and federally registered in a certain class of goods. Use of notices are required by the marks when placed on printed material on a case-by-case basis and all commercial products such as apparel including shirts, sweatshirts, etc. and novelty or advertising specialties such as pens, mugs, banners, magnets, etc.

There are several schools that have the same initials "ISU." How can Iowa State claim ownership to the initials "ISU"? Iowa State University was the first "ISU" institution to apply for and be granted a federal registration for the use of this mark. We exercise common sense and courtesy and do not pursue actions against our fellow "ISU" institutions. However, we actively pursue others from using our mark and have current agreements in place with certain entities granting permission with a disclaimer required for their use. University Marketing suggests that since there are other institutions that also identify with these initials, units should consider including other marks in applications that are distributed regionally or have national exposure.

Can our organization create our own logo? Trademark Licensing offers organizations more flexibility in design creation. You may create a "design" that identifies your group but our experience with most organizations is that these "designs" change on a regular basis as new students become members. In addition, nearly all organizations use a university trademark in their name and, since the marks are already federally registered and owned by the university, we do not allow an organization to claim ownership or federally register their organization name.

Can our organization trademark a slogan? For the same reason above, our experience is that slogans change yearly as new members join the organization. The university is disinclined to approve such requests.

Is the use of "Vintage Cy" allowed by organizations? Sponsored and Affiliated organizations can use the older marks and are also allowed to manipulate those "Vintage Cy" marks as long as the integrity is maintained and the General Principals of the student use guidelines are followed.

Can the Athletic marks be manipulated or altered? Sponsored and Affiliated organizations can use the athletics logos as long as our student use guidelines are followed. The primary athletics I-State mark and the mascot head mark cannot be altered or manipulated from the original design format or color requirements. However, the use of the marks can be used in one-color or two-color design formats or the original four-colors. The full body mascot mark can be altered slightly and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Do we have to use our organization name? If the use is to identify your organization and for your organization members, your officially registered organization name must be in the design. If your name does not include language that would identify your group as an ISU organization, Trademark Licensing will require additional language such as "club" or "student chapter" (see Section 6 in the Student Use Guidelines). If your group is holding a fundraising event, the name of the organization is recommended but not required (see Section 5 in the Student Use Guidelines).