Trademarks and Use of Harvard’s Name

Harvard Trademark Program

General Information about the Harvard Trademark Program
The Trademark Program is charged with the protection and licensing of Harvard’s trademarks worldwide and the administration of the University’s internal Use-of-Name policies and guidelines. The office also provides advice to members of the Harvard community on a wide range of trademark-related issues.

In its protection efforts, the Trademark Program registers Harvard’s various trademarks and works to stop their unauthorized use around the world. Through its domestic and international licensing endeavors, the Trademark Program licenses the University’s trademarks to qualified companies to produce a variety of insignia items. After covering the Trademark Program’s operational expenses, proceeds from the sales of these items help fund student financial aid initiatives of the University.

Use of Harvard’s Trademarks by Students and Student Organizations
The Harvard names, insignia, and logos are trademarks of the University and are used by members of the Harvard community, including student organizations, with the permission of the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Their use is governed by the University’s Use-of-Name policies, which are administered by the Harvard Trademark Program on behalf of the provost and the University. Those policies’ primary Standard of Accurate Representation states that “The University and its members have a responsibility to ensure that any implied association with the University is accurate.”

In short, student organizations must make it clear, in all instances and contexts, that they and their related activities are student activities, and not activities of the School or the University as a whole.

Failure of a student organization to abide by the University’s Use-of-Name policies and trademark standards, as set forth in these guidelines, can result in the University’s revocation of the use of the Harvard name by the student organization.

Any additional questions should be directed to the Office for Student Affairs ( and the Harvard Trademark Program (

Student Organization Names
Harvard comprises 12 schools, hundreds of departments, offices, and centers, and thousands of students, faculty, and staff. Therefore, a student organization’s name must accurately and clearly represent its relationship with the University. This helps avoid confusion and misinterpretation regarding an organization’s University affiliation.

The names of all newly formed student organizations, as well as any student organizations requesting permission to change their name, must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The use of “Harvard” alone in the name is not permitted.
  • “Harvard Chan” or “Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health” must be in the name.
  • “Student” must be in the name.
  • The name must communicate the general purpose of the organization.
  • “Organization,” “Club,” “Forum,” “Society,” “Committee,” “Consortium,” or equivalent must be in the name.
  • Cannot include “Fund,” “Institute,” “Academy,” or “Center” or other such words as these imply that the organization is an official activity of the School or University.
  • Occasionally, student organizations may be affiliated with larger pan-Harvard groups, in which case “Chapter” may be used.

Logos and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Shield
Student organizations are permitted to use the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shield for organizational purposes. For questions regarding shield images, please contact

Use of other shields, including the University’s Veritas shield, is not permitted.

The shield cannot be altered or edited in any way, including modifying the colors of the shield or changing the lettering on the books. Additional design elements may be added around the shield, provided they do not touch, overlap, or otherwise subsume the image.

Student organizations may also create their own shields and logos, provided they are consistent with the University’s “Guidelines for the Creation of a New Shield Design or Logo by Harvard Departments, Units, and Officially Recognized Organizations for Themselves or Their Activities.” These guidelines contain specific instructions for designing a new shield or logo, including design criteria and the proper review and approval process. New or redesigned logos cannot be used before receiving final approval by the Office for Student Affairs and the Harvard Trademark Program.

Using Student Organization Names and Logos
The Trademark Program has established the following guidelines to help student organizations ensure that they represent their association with Harvard in an appropriate and accurate manner:

  • All communication external to the Harvard Chan School, including the general Harvard community and/or the general public, must use the entire student organization name. This includes communication with any other part of Harvard University.
  • For communication within the School where there is a reasonable expectation of familiarity, groups may use an approved abbreviation which shortens the name by omitting Harvard Chan or Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, or an acronym which abbreviates the full, approved name of the student organization. Hybrid acronyms, which spell out Harvard while abbreviating the remainder of the name, are not permitted in any context.

Domain Names and Email Addresses
Domain names or email addresses that contain any form of “Harvard” require prior, written approval from the Harvard Trademark Program. The organization’s domain name and email address should accurately reflect the full approved name of the organization.

Any domain name that includes the word “Harvard” must be owned by the University and registered to “the President and Fellows of Harvard College.” External domain names that do not include the word “Harvard” should belong to the student organization and not an individual.

Website Content and Social Media
In all electronic contexts, including social media and organization websites, student organizations may use only an accurate representation of their full approved organization name, and the appropriate Harvard shield or organization logo. They must also have a statement of affiliation, such as “an official recognized Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health student organization,” clearly and prominently displayed.

Student organization websites must include the following on the main page of their websites:

  • The full, approved organization name in a prominent location, typically in the header of the website. Subsequent references may use an accurate abbreviation or acronym.
  • A statement of affiliation (“a student-run organization at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health”) in a prominent location and in a font size and color comparable to other fonts being used on the website, typically directly under the name in the header or in descriptive text in the body.
  • This statement on use of name and trademark, typically in the footer of the website: “The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health name and/or shield are trademarks of the President and Fellows of Harvard College and are used by permission of Harvard University.”

Student organizations should accurately represent themselves on social media platforms so that anyone publicly viewing a profile can easily determine its relationship to the Harvard Chan School. To the best of their abilities, the organization must:

  • Choose an account name that is an accurate representation of their full, approved name or an accurate abbreviation or acronym.
  • Include the full, approved organization name and a statement of affiliation in the About section.
  • Include a link to the organizational website in the appropriate field.
  • Create events through an account linked to the organization, such as an organization’s Facebook Group or Page, so that the event connects back to the hosting organization.

Student Organization Publications
Publications by student organizations must prominently state their affiliation on the cover or front page of the publication. This statement of affiliation must include (1) the full, approved name of the organization, (2) that it is a student-run publication, and (3) the name of the School with which the organization is affiliated. For example: “a publication of (name of student group), an officially recognized student organization at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

The copyright page (or relevant section) of the publication must state: “The Harvard name and the VERITAS shield are trademarks of the President and Fellows of Harvard College and are used by permission of Harvard University.” This statement can be modified to reflect the exact Harvard trademarks being used.

Student Organization Events and Activities
The trademark guidelines also apply to student organization events and activities. All brochures, posters, publicity materials, etc. related to any student group event or activity, whether taking place in the U.S. or abroad, must clearly identify the full, approved name of the sponsoring student organization, in addition to including a clear statement of affiliation.

The use of the name “Harvard” in the name of an event without additional context can create the inaccurate impression that an event is an activity of or is sponsored by the College or the University as a whole. Therefore, special care must be taken to create accurate event names. Since student organizations are recognized through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, “Harvard” in an event title must always be within the context of the phrase “Harvard Chan” or “Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

Although student organizations can collaborate with offices, departments, or centers on broader initiatives, use of “Harvard” alone in an event title is permitted only when ALL of the following are true:

  • The program or activity is University-wide, meaning its structure and governance has substantial faculty involvement from at least three separate Harvard Schools.
  • It has institutional accountability in that it reports formally to University-wide officers, such as the president or provost or a group of deans from several faculties.
  • There are not significant issues of confusion with activities elsewhere in the University (for example, “the Harvard Project on Government” or “the Harvard Health Project” would raise concerns of this nature).

The phrases “held at Harvard University,” “at Harvard University,” and “at Harvard” may be used as a general geographic designation for activities held on campus, as long as they are  accompanied by language that makes it clear that the activity is being run by a student organization and not the University or any other Harvard School or unit.

Ordering Apparel or Other Mercantile Items Bearing Harvard’s Trademarks
Requests by student organizations to have apparel or other mercantile items produced should first be submitted to the Office for Student Affairs via Student organizations must also follow up with the School’s Communication Office to obtain the correct digital files for representation as well as style guidelines.

If a student organization wishes to include its name on merchandise, it must follow the University’s licensing process and review the “Guidelines for Ordering Internal Insignia Items (“SWAG”) for Harvard Schools, Departments, Units, and Officially Recognized Student Organizations and Affiliates”.

For further information about the Harvard Trademark Program, please visit the Trademark Program’s website or contact the office at