Trademark Basics

What is a Trademark?
A trademark is defined in the Lanham Trademark Act as any word, name, symbol, or design, or any combination thereof, used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from those of another and to indicate the source of the goods. See 15 U.S.C. § 1127.


What is Trademark Licensing?
Trademark licensing is a permit from a trademark owner (generally referred to as the licensor) to another party (generally referred to as the licensee) under which the licensor grants to the licensee the right to use the trademark in specific ways. It is subject to various risk-insulation and quality control provisions and, most often, in return for royalties. The conditions of use are most often spelled out in a license agreement.

Examples of Trademarks
A trademark can be in the form of a:
 - Word
 - Phrase
 - Symbol
 - Design
 - Color
 - Group of letters or numbers
 - Sound
 - Smell
 - Combination of the above

How is a Trademark Protected?
Ohio State trademarks are protected by law via state, federal and/or international trademark registrations and/or through common law. Please note, a trademark does not need to be registered for the university to prohibit others from using it or a confusingly similar mark.

A design that could create confusion due to similarity to the university’s trademarks may be an infringement on the university’s trademark rights. The university has delegated the responsibility for maintaining, managing, licensing and protecting the university trademarks to the Office of Trademark & Licensing Services under the direction of the Office of Legal Affairs.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 614-292-1562.