One Big Mistake | Using school logos for unofficial merchandise

Whether you’re gearing up for #OneBigFight or suiting up for #UPFight, remember that university logos or slogans may be trademarks owned by your schools, so make or sell your university-branded merchandise with caution.

With the UAAP finals now in full swing, students, alumni, and supporters are dashing to buy and make their own school-branded products to showcase their school pride — from wearing apparel to accessories.

But universities have long cemented their logos and slogans into their brand, and have registered specific marks such as the Oblation of the University of the Philippines and the “Lux in Domino” seal of Ateneo De Manila University for use on specific goods, for example, clothing, bags, mugs and headgear, as official merchandise.

This is not to say the creative community eager to express their school pride are prohibited from using their school name or symbols — just be sure your design, logo, or slogan (your “mark”) is original and not confusingly similar to that owned by your school. Otherwise, you must have their consent, or limit your use to personal purpose (not for commercial sale).

In fact, visual designers that are confident of their witty and pun-laden slogan or logo to be a hit, should consider registering it as a trademark thereby protecting it from copycats.

Checking out registered marks in the IPOPHL Trademark Database is good practice for entrepreneurial fans and supporters to avoid infringing the intellectual property right of their own school.

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