A trademark, also encompassing service mark, is a unique word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods or services from others. The term “trademark” is often used to refer to both types.

Georgia Tech Ownership

Georgia Tech owns numerous names, logos, trademarks, and service marks (collectively “GT Names and Marks”). These are mostly protected by U.S. and international trademark registrations. For a list of federal and state registered GT Names and Marks, visit https://brand.gatech.edu/our-look/use-of-name#17 . This list is not exhaustive.

All GT Names and Marks are the property of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (BOR). Even those primarily used by various GT-affiliated organizations or departments are registered under the BOR’s name on behalf of Georgia Tech.

The use of GT Names and Marks should not imply the Institute's endorsement of programs, events, products, services, publications, viewpoints, or companies. Also, individuals or entities are not permitted to use GT Names and Marks in trademark or corporate name registrations. Only the BOR, as owner of GT Names and Marks, can register new Georgia Tech names or marks, especially those incorporating previously registered ones.

Management, Licensing, and Approval

Institute Communications via Licensing and Trademarks, with guidance from the Trademark Licensing Committee, oversees Georgia Tech’s trademark portfolio and licensing program. Composed of key Georgia Tech stakeholders and Legal Affairs liaisons, this committee establishes policies and guidelines, and provides recommendations on branding, trademark registration, and enforcement. The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) serves as Georgia Tech’s trademark marketing and licensing representative.

All desired uses of GT Names and Marks must be approved by Institute Communications, or the relevant unit communicator. To use GT Names and Marks on products or clothing, Institute Communications must approve the request, and a licensed vendor must be used. Please forward such requests to gtlicensing@gatech.edu.

Trademark Search Assistance

Legal Affairs coordinates with Institute Communications and GT affiliated organizations and departments to conduct basic trademark searches for proposed names intended to symbolize Georgia Tech as a source of goods or services. For trademark registration, our office engages external counsel, or the Special Assistant Attorney General (SAAG), to conduct official trademark searches, with costs covered by the requestor.

Names intended for non-trademark purposes, like event names or artworks, do not require legal review. However, it’s advised to perform a basic check on potential name uses through online searches and databases, such as the Georgia Secretary of State Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Use of Georgia Tech’s name, branding, and visual identity, in accordance with applicable policies and guidelines, further distinguishes proposed names from uses of the same name by others and mitigates risks associated with Georgia Tech’s use. Any desired use of Georgia Tech’s name, branding, and visual identity in such instances requires prior approval by Institute Communications. Please forward such requests to: gtbrand@gatech.edu.

Trademark Registration

Legal Affairs engages external counsel, or the SAAG, to facilitate federal and state registration of a trademark on behalf of the Institute. Please note that federal trademark registration can be costly.

Additionally, the requestor is responsible for payment of such expenses. Only consider federal registration if significantly investing in branding the name, slogan, or design and the related services being offered.

It’s essential to note that registration doesn’t authorize usage. Under U.S. and state law, trademark rights stem from legitimate use of the name or design in commerce to identify the source of goods or services. The main benefit of trademark registration is to prevent unauthorized usage of a name or mark by third parties.

Use of GT Name and Marks

Institute Communications via the Use of Name Committee developed Use of Name Guidelines to standardize usage of Georgia Tech’s name and branding in accordance with applicable BOR policies and guidance. The guidelines empower GT unit communicators to make informed decisions on third-party use of GT Names and Marks and serve as a resource for the Georgia Tech community and external parties.

For any questions, please contact the relevant Georgia Tech unit communicator, or if in doubt, please email gtbrand@gatech.edu.

GT Standard Trademark Contractual Language

To protect the integrity of Georgia Tech’s brand, Legal Affairs has crafted standard trademark clauses involving potential use of GT Names and Marks in third-party agreements and various GT template agreements.

For third-party agreements involving use of GT Names and Marks, GT unit communicators must verify usage with their signature prior to the Vice President of Institute Communications signing. Their signature confirms the proposed GT Mark usage in compliance with applicable GT policies and guidelines governing GT Marks.

For questions or guidance on contractual trademark language, please email Legal Affairs at: asklegal@gatech.edu.

Trademark Enforcement

Occasionally, Legal Affairs is alerted about potential GT Names and Marks violations. In such instances, our protocol involves sending cease-and-desist notices. For violations involving merchandise, our office coordinates with CLC to issue such notices.

Persistent noncompliance results in escalating the matter to the Trademark Licensing Committee and potentially to our Trademark SAAG for further action.