Frequently Asked Questions about Name Use at Stanford
Q: Why does Stanford have guidelines for name use?
A: Stanford’s name and logos are registered trademarks. The Name Use Guidelines protect these valuable assets from misuse and help Stanford to:
- protect perceptions of academic and research integrity and independence;
- maintain its tax-exempt status;
- avoid the appearance of endorsing non-Stanford entities; and
- ensure accurate representations about its relationships with other organizations.
The guidelines are not intended to limit Stanford’s ability to communicate about its research and academic activities.
Q: How do Stanford’s policies compare to other universities?
A: Stanford’s name use policies and guidelines are similar to those of other leading research universities and reflect best practices in higher education.
Q: Do the guidelines apply only to commercial, for-profit companies?
A: The guidelines apply to all third-party entities, including non-profit organizations. For example, Stanford’s name and logos may not be used by a foundation for fundraising or marketing purposes.
Q: Which office at Stanford manages name use?
A: The president has delegated oversight authority to several senior Stanford leaders (see Admin Guide 1.5.4). The offices of the Vice President for Business Affairs and CFO, Vice President for Communications, and the General Counsel work closely with schools and units, the Provost’s Office and the Dean of Research to facilitate application of the guidelines as consistently as possible. In addition, Trademark Licensing approves use of Stanford’s name and logos on merchandise, such as t-shirts, lab coats, uniforms, water bottles, tote bags, etc. A Stanford school or unit’s communications officer can serve as its first point of contact.
Q: Where can I find Stanford’s policies on use of its name and logos?
A: A complete list of policies can be found at https://trademarks.stanford.edu/. These policies include guidelines for use of Stanford’s name by (i) faculty, staff and students; (ii) vendors, research sponsors, and donors; (iii) the press; (iii) event sponsors; and (iv) other non-Stanford entities.
Q: My contact at a vendor has asked for an endorsement. Is this allowed?
A: No, Stanford does not provide endorsements and avoids implied endorsements. Stanford faculty, staff and students may not provide quotes or recommendations in their Stanford capacities. Endorsements may be made in an individual capacity as long as reference to Stanford is not made and the activity is unrelated to a person’s scope of activities at Stanford. With approval from the appropriate Stanford unit, vendors may include the name of the specific Stanford client department in plain-text in an alphabetical list of customers (no logo) so long as Stanford is not highlighted in any way.
Q: Can a vendor post a case study featuring a Stanford project on its website/blog?
A: No, vendors may not publish case studies about their work with Stanford. With permission from Trademark Licensing, architects, designers and other vendors with a need to visually show their work to prospective clients may include Stanford in a portfolio of work.
Q: Can non-Stanford organizations use Stanford’s logo for its website/materials?
A: Stanford’s logo, images of its campus, and other emblems are reserved for use by Stanford. The policy generally does not allow use of Stanford logos on non-Stanford websites or in non-Stanford materials. However, we do grant permission for third parties to use our logos in certain cases, such as when we are co-sponsoring an event. Please see the Name Use Guidelines for details. Requests for logo use should be directed to the communications department of the school or unit whose logo is being requested. Requests to use the Stanford name, University Seal or Block S, should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Trademark Licensing at email@example.com must approve use of Stanford’s name and logos on all merchandise.
Q: Are there restrictions on putting other organizations’ logos on Stanford websites and materials?
A: Yes, the logos of other organizations are generally not allowed on Stanford’s web pages and materials. However, we do allow a collection of Industrial Affiliates logos on a page devoted exclusively to listing the Affiliates and their logos. We also allow the logos of event sponsors to be included at the bottom of an event website or program so long as they are clearly identified as “Sponsors.” Event sponsors generally are not identified as “Partners.” Please see the Office of Special Events and Protocol for more information about events.
Q: Where can I learn more about Stanford’s logo and its use?
A: Visit identity.stanford.edu for design guidance on using the university’s logo and files that can be downloaded with a Stanford login. For information about using Stanford’s marks on merchandise, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What are the guidelines for third-party press releases?
A: All press releases by non-Stanford entities must be reviewed and approved in advance by the appropriate Stanford school or unit or by University Communications. Here are some of the guidelines for situations that most frequently arise:
- Press releases announcing or describing a relationship with Stanford should be factual rather than promotional.
- Non-Stanford entities may not announce or promote Stanford’s research.
- The release should accurately represent the relationship with Stanford and not imply endorsement by Stanford.
- Stanford staff, faculty, and students may not be quoted in another entity’s press release, with the exception of expressing appreciation for a gift in a press release approved by the Office of Development (OOD).
- Other organizations may not represent or speak for Stanford in their press releases, e.g. An “About Stanford” section may not be included in other companies’ releases.
- Stanford rarely issues joint press releases, and such press releases must be approved by University Communications.
- Stanford generally promotes published research results, not MOUs, licensing agreements, or research sponsorships.
- For more information, contact email@example.com.
Sponsors and Licensees:
Q: How can research sponsors and technology licensees announce their connection with Stanford?
A: Sponsors and licensees may factually announce their agreement with Stanford in a press release with approval by Stanford, and in non-marketing reporting documents. They may include Stanford in an alphabetical list of research institutions that receive funding from them (no logo). Research sponsors should not be referred to as “partners.” The word “partner” is reserved for describing a specific relationship with Stanford, in which both organizations share responsibility for achieving a mutual goal.
Q: Can licensees promote the fact that their technology was developed at Stanford?
A: No, product marketing and advertising may not reference Stanford. This information may be factually stated in an “About” or “History” section of a company’s website.
Video and photography:
Q: Can other companies use photos of Stanford campus on their websites and social media channels?
A: Photos of Stanford campus represent Stanford and may not be used promotionally by other organizations.
Q: Can I talk about my area of expertise in a video for a company? It isn’t a commercial, but it will be posted to the company’s website and Facebook page.
A: Stanford faculty, staff and students may not appear in videos posted on corporate channels, such as websites, YouTube and social media, in their Stanford capacities. This helps to avoid perceptions of endorsement or of a closer relationship between the university and company than may exist.
Q: What are the restrictions around filming and photography on campus?
A: As a private university, Stanford requires permission to film on campus in order to minimize disruption, support student privacy, and protect iconic landmarks from marketing use by other organizations. Commercial organizations may not film on Stanford’s campus. Photos for personal use by individuals are generally allowed. For more information, see ucomm.stanford.edu/policies/photo-film-policy.html.
Q: Are there restrictions around using Stanford’s name on social media?
A: Yes, Stanford’s name use policy applies to channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information, see Stanford’s Social Media Policy at https://ucomm.stanford.edu/policies/social-media-guidelines.