University TM: Trademark Rights Accretion in Higher Education

72 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2014

See all articles by Jacob H. Rooksby

Jacob H. Rooksby

Gonzaga University - School of Law

Date Written: September 17, 2013


Since the mid-1970s, American colleges and universities have quietly been amassing trademark portfolios of substantial portion and variety. Although some scholars have examined college and university trademark activities on an anecdotal level, these activities largely have escaped comprehensive empirical and theoretical analyses. This Article fills the void by reporting results of a study to identify every federal trademark registration currently owned and maintained by an American college or university. The results reveal a staggering number of trademarks accreting in higher education. Once thought of as a provincial and ancillary activity pertaining strictly to institutional names and athletic concerns, this Article makes the case that college and university trademark activity is an important and growing pursuit with significant policy implications for higher education. This Article discusses and analyzes these concerns with a view toward establishing a model for college and university trademark behavior that is consistent with the public’s interest in higher education.

Keywords: trademarks, higher education, intellectual property, academic capitalism, public policy

Suggested Citation

Rooksby, Jacob H., University TM: Trademark Rights Accretion in Higher Education (September 17, 2013). 27 Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 349 (2014), Duquesne University School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-06, Available at SSRN:

Jacob H. Rooksby (Contact Author)

Gonzaga University - School of Law ( email )

721 N. Cincinnati Street
Spokane, WA 99220-3528
United States

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