Trademarks and Licensing


Trademarks and Licensing exists to protect and promote the marks, names and logos of Western Michigan University. 

Trademarks are critical to the integrity of our brand. To protect this integrity, all products and merchandise produced using the Western Michigan University name, its logos or any other indicia with the purpose of identifying the University in whole or in part are required to be sourced and manufactured by WMU-licensed vendors. When an unlicensed vendor uses our logo on cheap merchandise or products produced in environments that do not adhere to the University’s codes of conduct, our brand value shifts accordingly. When managed appropriately, trademarks appreciate in value over time, making it easier for the University to differentiate itself from competitors, attract and retain talent, and expand services.

WMU has a zero-tolerance policy for products and merchandise manufactured in environments that do not meet the Worker Rights Consortium Code of Conduct. 

Trademarks and Licensing seeks to strengthen the Western brand and avoid misrepresentations of the University to the public. Use of WMU’s trademarks and logos without permission is strictly prohibited. Western’s trademarks and logos should not be used to imply the University’s endorsement of commercial products or services, or endorsement of causes or organizations not a part of the University or part of a formal, contracted relationship.

A WMU trademark is any mark, logo, symbol, nickname, letter(s), word or derivative that can be associated with Western Michigan University and distinguished from other institutions or entities. For more information about Western Michigan University's logos, visit Our Brand.

The University takes seriously its commitment to protecting WMU trademarks and the tradition of excellence they represent. Use of any WMU trademark requires prior written consent from Western Michigan University Licensing. Western works in cooperation with CLC to enforce the University’s trademark rights. CLC works on behalf of Western Licensing to protect and grow the value of its brand, name and indicia.

Unauthorized use of WMU’s marks is illegal and a violation of the federal Lanham Trademark Act of 1946 and the federal Trademark Act of 1984. Such violations subject the violator to liability for damages, injunctive relief, attorney’s fees and other penalties—civil and criminal. Infringing merchandise is also subject to seizure.

On athletic game days, the WMU Bookstore has exclusive rights to sell WMU merchandise on campus property. Any sales from unauthorized vendors are not licensed. Please report violations to our game management staff by calling (269) 387-3120.

Any information regarding possible trademark infringement should be reported to Western Michigan University Licensing consultant Alixe Holcomb, alixe.holcomb@wmich.edu, or Rik Fitton, brand management director at CLC, (517) 204-2933 or Rik.Fitton@CLC.com.

Becoming Licensed and Trademark Information

Western Michigan University manages its licensing program in partnership with CLC.

A trademark license grants individuals, organizations or corporations the authorization to produce commercial goods or services bearing the University’s trademarks.

License fees: The University has established a standard royalty rate of 12% that will be included in the wholesale prices you charge as a licensed vendor. CLC also collects minimal annual advances from all licensees. Those advances are determined by the category of the product being licensed for production. As a licensed vendor, you are required to provide proof of insurance as specified by CLC. In addition, Western Michigan University and CLC reserve the right to create new licensing programs and fees as market trends permit.

License types: Companies asking to be licensed only for Western Michigan University may request a local or internal campus supplier license application.

The license types available are:

License types

  • Crafter

    The Crafter license is intended for individuals who handcraft items bearing Western Michigan University logos. Visit clc.com to begin this licensing process.

  • Internal Campus Supplier

    This type of license is for companies who wish to produce items used by Western Michigan University for internal use only. Internal Campus Suppliers are not authorized to sell any products for traditional retail sales. Visit clc.com to begin this licensing process.

  • Local

    The Local license is for companies that desire to obtain a license with Western Michigan University and possibly one to two other institutions in the state of Michigan only. Visit clc.com to begin this licensing process.

  • Standard

    The Standard license is intended for companies that are capable of extensive production and retail distribution of their product(s) or are introducing a unique and commercially viable product to the collegiate market. The Standard license is usually not for first-time applicants or companies without well-established marketing plans, existing product distribution or a financial history of selling licensed products. This license is for the production of emblematic merchandise that will be sold by the licensed vendor to retailers. Visit clc.com to begin this licensing process.

  • NCAA/Bowl/Conference

    These are special licenses for companies that wish to obtain rights to use the trademarks of the NCAA, bowl games, athletic conferences or another special event for use on licensed merchandise, either alone or in conjunction with an institution’s trademarks. Licensing rights to these properties can be more expensive to obtain, depending on the event and the extent of the rights and product categories. Visit clc.com to begin this licensing process.

  • Cakes and Food Items Permissions

    For permission to create cakes and other food items using WMU logos, download the Cake Permission Form and send to alixe.holcomb@wmich.edu for approval.

    Cake Permission Form

University Units and Departments

Looking to order promotional items with Western Michigan University logos? If you’re a University unit or college, email Kim Nelson, director of University Creative Services, at kim.nelson@wmich.edu to get a list of vendors who are approved to create products using WMU logos for your promotional use.

Contact Us

Kim Nelson
Director of University Creative Services

Office of Marketing and Strategic Communications

Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA

kim.nelson@wmich.edu

Alixe Holcomb

Trademarks & Licensing Consultant

(520) 360-2886
Alixe.holcomb@wmich.edu